The EU has reached on Tuesday a crucial milestone with 70% of the adult population now fully vaccinated, European Commission announced. In total, over 256 million adults in the EU have now received a full vaccine course. Seven weeks ago already, the Commission’s delivery target was met, ahead of time: to provide the Member States, by the end of July, with enough vaccine doses to fully vaccinate 70% of the adult EU population.
“The full vaccination of 70% of adults in the EU already in August is a great achievement,” President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said. “The EU’s strategy of moving forward together is paying off and putting Europe at the vanguard of the global fight against COVID-19. But the pandemic is not over. We need more. I call on everyone who can get vaccinated. And we need to help the rest of the world vaccinate, too. Europe will continue to support its partners in this effort, in particular, the low and middle-income countries.”
“We will continue to support in particular those Member States that are continuing to face challenges. We need to close the immunity gap and the door for new variants and to do so, vaccinations must win the race over variants,” Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, pointed out.
The rapid, full vaccination of all targeted populations – in Europe and globally – is key to controlling the impact of the pandemic. The EU has been leading the multilateral response. The EU has exported about half of the vaccines produced in Europe to other countries in the world, as much as it has delivered for its citizens. Team Europe has contributed close to €3 billion for the COVAX Facility to help secure at least 1.8 billion doses for 92 low and lower-middle-income countries. Currently, over 200 million doses have been delivered by COVAX to 138 countries.
In addition, Team Europe aims to share at least 200 million more doses of vaccines secured under the EU’s advance purchase agreements to low and middle-income countries until the end of 2021, in particular through COVAX, as part of the EU sharing efforts.
Given the threat of new variants, it is important to continue ensuring the availability of sufficient vaccines, including adapted vaccines, also in the coming years. That is why the Commission signed a new contract with BioNTech-Pfizer on 20 May, which foresees the delivery of 1.8 billion doses of vaccines between the end of the year and 2023. For the same purpose, the Commission has also exercised the option of 150 million doses of the second Moderna contract. Member States have the possibility to resell or donate doses to countries in need outside the EU or through the COVAX Facility, contributing to global and fair access to vaccines across the world. Other contracts may follow.
The European Commission has secured up to 4.6bn doses of COVID-19 vaccines so far and negotiations are underway for additional doses. The Commission is also working with the industry to step up vaccine manufacturing capacity.
At the same time, the Commission has started work to tackle new variants, aiming to rapidly develop and produce effective vaccines against these variants on a large scale.