Wednesday

6th Jul 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.

Column

'War on Women' needs forceful response, not glib statements

Some modest headway in recognising the unrelenting tide of discrimination and violence facing women worldwide was made at last week's largely self-congratulatory and mostly irrelevant G7 talk-fest. But no one mentioned abortion, just days after the Roe vs Wade decision.

Opinion

How industry watered-down new EU supply chain rules

The Commission fell hook, line, and sinker for the arguments of big business on the corporate due diligence directive — conflating rules and regulations with so-called 'red tape' and rebranding regulations as 'burdens' on business which should be scrapped.

News in Brief

  1. France to nationalise nuclear operator amid energy crisis
  2. Instant legal challenge after ok for 'green' gas and nuclear
  3. Alleged Copenhagen shooter tried calling helpline
  4. Socialist leader urges Czech PM to ratify Istanbul convention
  5. Scottish law chief casts doubt on referendum
  6. British PM faces mounting rebellion
  7. Russian military base near Finnish border emptied
  8. Euro slides to lowest level in two decades

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. Legal action looms after MEPs back 'green' nuclear and gas
  2. EU readies for 'complete Russian gas cut-off', von der Leyen says
  3. Rising prices expose lack of coherent EU response
  4. Keeping gas as 'green' in taxonomy vote only helps Russia
  5. 'War on Women' needs forceful response, not glib statements
  6. Greece defends disputed media and migration track record
  7. MEPs adopt new digital 'rule book', amid surveillance doubts
  8. 'World is watching', as MEPs vote on green finance rules

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us