COVID: EU ‘confident’ of herd immunity by summer

The European Commission says its coronavirus vaccine drive is now on course to secure 70% inoculation of the EU’s adult population by mid-July.

The European Union’s vaccine task force chief on Sunday said the bloc would be able to produce enough vaccines to achieve herd immunity of the EU’s adult population by the middle of July.

“We are confident that we will be able to produce a sufficient number of vaccines to achieve the goal of collective immunity, which means that 70% of the adult population would have been vaccinated by mid-July,” European Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said.

The commissioner made the comments in an interview with the Greek weekly newspaper To Vima.

Enough doses to meet target

Breton wrote on Twitter that the bloc “will have the doses needed to fulfill the EU Vaccines Task Force target.”

According to Breton, more than 400 million doses were expected to be distributed in the second quarter.

“Member states need to be ready to speed up vaccinations,” he said, adding that vaccine production in the EU is doubling every month in 53 production facilities.

By the end of 2021, production capacity will reach 3 billion vaccine doses per year, he said.

The EU’s vaccination campaign got off to a difficult start, with bottlenecks and delivery delays in the first quarter, particularly in relation to the AstraZeneca vaccine.

128 million doses
By Saturday, 128 million doses have been administered to 21% of the EU’s population, according to a tally for the AFP news agency.

Malta is leading the way in the 27-nation bloc, with 47% of its population inoculated, followed by Hungary, with 37%.

But, in Germany, only 22.6% of the population have been vaccinated, 22.3% in Spain, 20.5% in France and 19.9% in Italy.

The European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, announced earlier this week that it is set to secure up to 1.8 billion doses of BioNTech-Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from 2021 to 2023.


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