COVID-19: EU reaches 70% fully vaccinated goal

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Aug. 31 (UPI) — The European Union has reached its goal of fully vaccinating 70% of all adults against COVID-19, EU President Ursula von der Leyen said Tuesday.

She announced the “important milestone” in a video message posted online.

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“I want to thank the many people making this great achievement possible,” she said. “But we must go further!

“We need more Europeans to vaccinate. And we need to help the rest of the world vaccinate, too.”

Many experts estimate that herd immunity requires between 60% and 70% of populations to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus to make its spread unlikely.

As of Aug. 22, the EU has administered 513.79 million vaccines, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. About 445 million people live in the 27-member bloc.

Globally, 5.29 billion vaccine doses have been administered, about 69 doses per 100 people, according to a New York Times tracker of COVID-19 data. The tracker indicates 70% of adults are fully vaccinated in 11 countries: Malta, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Iceland, Portugal, Uruguay, Denmark, Chile, Belgium and Spain.

Dozens of countries, meanwhile, struggle to gain access to the vaccines and are reporting significantly fewer vaccinations — if any at all.

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World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus last month encouraged wealthier countries to pause any efforts to offer COVID-19 booster shots so that extra doses could be sent to poorer nations with lower supplies.

“More than 4 billion vaccine doses have been administered globally,” he said at the time. “More than 80% go to high- and upper-income countries, even though they account for less than half of the world’s population.”

The WHO aims to vaccinate 40% of the global population by December.