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The 27 member states of the European Union in total have now administered more doses of the coronavirus vaccine per 100 people than the United States, another sign that inoculations across the block have maintained some speed throughout. summer, when they stagnated for weeks in the United States. .
EU countries had administered 102.66 doses per 100 people on Tuesday, while the United States had administered 102.44, according to the latest vaccination figures compiled by Our World in Data. This month, the European Union also overtook the United States in the first injections; currently, 58% of people across the block have received a dose, compared to 56.5% in the United States.
The latest figures stand in stark contrast to the early stages of this year’s immunization campaigns, when EU countries, faced with dose shortages and delivery delays, looked with envy at initially more successful efforts in the United States. United, Great Britain and Israel.
But the European Union is now vaccinating its populations at a faster rate than most developed countries. More than 70% of adults in the block have now received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said the achievement placed EU countries “among the world leaders”.
“The catch-up process has been very successful,” she said in a statement Tuesday.
While vaccination campaigns in many US states have been marred by widespread anti-vaccine sentiment, EU countries have been able to immunize their populations with less setback.
About 75% of the bloc’s residents agree vaccines are the only way to end the coronavirus pandemic, according to a public inquiry across the European Union in May.
In addition, 79% said they intended to get the vaccine “within this year”.
Yet the spread of the Delta variant has added a new urgency. Cases have skyrocketed in countries like the Netherlands and Portugal, and hospitalizations have increased in France and Spain, among others, prompting authorities to try to speed up vaccination campaigns that have slowed them down slightly. weeks.
“Countries tried in the first half of the year to lengthen the interval between the first and second dose, but now they need to reduce it to a minimum, with the shortest possible interval,” said Andrea Ammon, director of the European Center. of Disease Prevention and Control, said this month.
The center said last week that the Delta variant is now dominant in the majority of countries in the bloc.
Countries like France and Italy have announced new vaccine requirements in an attempt to speed up vaccinations, with proof of vaccination or a negative test to be required to access most indoor public places. The goal, French President Emmanuel Macron said when announcing the measures this month, is to “put restrictions on the unvaccinated rather than on everyone.”
While campaigns have declined slightly or plateaued in some EU countries, health officials have also urged younger age groups to get vaccinated.
“We focused a lot on the elderly, and that left a very strong perception in the young people that they are not at risk, or that if they are, it is very sweet,” said Heidi Larson. , anthropologist and founder of the London Vaccine Confidence Project, which tracks views on immunization around the world.
Vittoria Colliza, a Paris-based epidemiologist at Inserm, France’s public health research center, said vaccine saturation levels were high among many populations, but large pockets had yet to receive a single dose.
She added that new lockdown restrictions may need to be reimposed to stem the spread of the Delta variant if vaccination fails to keep up.
“They are already increasing,” Dr Colliza said of inoculations, especially in young people. “But the fear is that the Delta variant will start to have a total impact on our lives by the end of August.”