The European Union has met its objective of fully immunising 70% of all adults against COVID-19, according to EU President Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday.
In a video message uploaded online, she highlighted the “significant milestone.”
“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.
Meanwhile, dozens other countries are struggling to obtain vaccines and are reporting much fewer vaccinations – if any at all.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, last month urged wealthier countries to halt attempts to provide COVID-19 booster shots so that excess doses might be provided to poorer countries with limited 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.