The European Union has hit its target of delivering enough coronavirus vaccine to cover 70 percent of the adult population, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Saturday.
The 27 EU member state governments are responsible for administering the vaccines to citizens, and some are working much faster than others, but von der Leyen stressed that “The EU has kept its word.”
The EU joint vaccine purchasing scheme, run by von der Leyen’s European Commission, has delivered 330 million BioNTech-Pfizer shots, 100 million AstraZeneca, 50 million from Moderna and 20 million Johnson & Johnson.
All but the J&J jab require two doses to achieve full efficacy, and the EU is home to an estimated 366 million adults.
Covid-19 is not yet defeated. But EU is prepared to continue supplying vaccines, also against new variants. Now the member states must do everything they can to ensure that vaccinations move forward. When the coronavirus epidemic hit Europe last yeat, the European Commission — which previously had little role in health policy — stepped in to coordinate a joint buying programme for members.
As industry raced to boost production of the newly developed vaccines, purchases started flowing in, and von der Leyen will see meeting the European Commission’s self-imposed July deadline for 70 percent coverage as vindication.
In addition to the initial roll-out goal, the EU contributes to the international Covax plan to supply doses to poorer countries and it has pre-ordered many more vaccines for next year as insurance against the rise of variants.