Monday

17th Jan 2022

70% of EU adults now fully-vaccinated against Covid

  • More 250 million adults in the EU are now fully vaccinated against Covid (Photo: European Commission)
Listen to article

Some 70 percent of adults in the EU are now fully-vaccinated against Covid - although Bulgaria and Romania continue to lag behind.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday (31 August) described the figure as an "important milestone in our vaccination campaign", amid warnings that the pandemic is not over.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

It means some 256 million adults in the EU have now received the full vaccine course against the virus, after a slow start earlier this year.

However, the most recent, late August, figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control show that uptake also varies significantly across the 27 EU states.

At the bottom is Bulgaria with only 19.3 percent of its adult population fully-vaccinated, followed by Romania (31.9 percent) and Latvia (45.5 percent). Malta is at the top with 90.3 percent, followed by Ireland (85.5 percent) and Denmark (83.5 percent).

The number of Bulgarian adults with a single dose of the vaccine at 21.1 percent is also the lowest in the EU, followed by Romania (32.8 percent).

A Bulgarian government spokesperson was not immediately able to respond to questions on why its uptake is so low.

Like across all EU states, the vaccine roll out is run by national authorities. Bulgaria received over five million doses and Romania almost 16 million.

Possible reasons behind Bulgaria's low figure may be linked to vaccine hesitancy, mismanagement and political upheavals. Bulgaria had also relied on AstraZeneca, a company which had failed to deliver the requested doses.

When those doses finally became available, public demand for the vaccine further dropped amid reports of rare blood clots.

The low demand led to national authorities trying to sell or donate soon-to-expire doses. Sofia gave 150,000 doses to western Balkan states.

Romania did the same, even as the more-contagious Delta variant is sending people to hospitals. Bucharest had sold Ireland 700,000 additional doses and over a million to Denmark.

"We need many more Europeans to vaccinate rapidly to avoid a new wave of infections," said von der Leyen, on Tuesday. She said the vaccinations could stop the emergence of new variants.

The commission in May signed a new contract with BioNTech-Pfizer to deliver 1.8 billion doses up until 2023.

It has also exercised an option for 150 million doses of the second Moderna contract. Other contracts may follow, if necessary, it said.

Romania selling on its jabs, despite low vaccination rates

Europe's least-vaccinated countries are in no short supply of Covid-19 jabs - and yet Romania and Bulgaria are both looking for opportunities to sell or donate their excess vaccines which they are not able to administer to their own population.

Pandemic exposed corruption in some EU health systems

The report's findings are particularly worrying as member states are preparing to roll-out billions of euros for a post-pandemic recovery. The European Commission is approving national plans for the spending of around €800bn by member states from now until 2026.

MEPs 'disappointed' at observer-status at new EU health body

MEPs have slammed the European Commission for sidelining the European Parliament in the new Health Emergency preparedness and Response Authority (HERA), giving MEPs a role of mere observers. Its budget will be €6bn over the next six years.

Record-breaking Omicron wave sweeps across Europe

The record numbers reflect those registered by health authorities, and does not include self-tests or infected people who develop no symptoms, and are not aware of their contagiousness.

WHO: Omicron to infect over half of Europeans in two months

The World Health Organization said Omicron is likely to infect more than half of the population in Europe within the next two months, threatening healthcare systems. It warned that it is too early to consider Covid as an endemic virus.

News in Brief

  1. French parliament agrees stricter vaccine-pass system
  2. US speaks to energy firms about EU gas cut-off scenario
  3. Anti-vax protests held in the Netherlands, Hungary, Austria
  4. German MEP spends €690,000 on office renovation
  5. Microsoft identified destructive malware in Ukraine agencies
  6. Danish intelligence crisis deepens
  7. Hackers expose Polish military secrets
  8. Swedish soldiers might leave Sahel due to Russian fighters

Opinion

Covid: what Germany got right - and wrong

Objectively speaking, German politicians have earned a good report card for their management of the corona pandemic so far. Why then is there so much anger about the national coronavirus response?

Latest News

  1. James Kanter, Shada Islam are new editors at EUobserver
  2. The loopholes and low bar in Macron's push for a global tax
  3. No love for Russia in latest EU strategy
  4. New EU Parliament chief elected This WEEK
  5. Lead MEP now wants ETS opt-out for homes and private cars
  6. MEPs seek probe into EU commissioner over Bosnia
  7. EU's Borrell contradicts Germany on Russia gas pipeline
  8. It's time for a more geopolitical EU-Turkey cooperation

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us