The European Commission urges the vaccination of at least 70% of all adults in every country of the European Union by the Summer of 2021, according to a statement issued by the European Commission on Tuesday.
The high percentage is thought to represent a goal that all 27 European Union nations should aim for, despite the current lag in coronavirus inoculation doses coming out of the pharmacological firms that manufacture the vaccines.
Each nation determines own inoculation rate, groupings
Currently, all the vaccination campaigns in the different countries are being conducted by the 27 different governments which decide the inoculation rate and priority groups for themselves. According to Reuters, the European Commission did not clarify how exactly it intended to boost the production capacity of the vaccine makers to reach this ambitious vaccination goal.
The EU executive branch, based in Brussels, said that all EU states should have vaccinated 70% of their adult population by this summer, a feat that could involve the inoculation of more than 200 million people. And all these people, it is believed currently, will need two doses each.
The Commission also sent out recommendations stipulating that by March, at least 80% of people over the age of 80 in every EU state, as well as 80% of healthcare workers, should also have received their vaccinations.
Naturally, whether or not this is even physically possible depends of the availability of literally hundreds of millions of doses of the approved vaccines — those from Pfizer/BioNTech, and Moderna and, it is hoped, the Oxford/Astra Zeneca, which is still under consideration for approval by the EU.
Almost 2.3 billion doses ordered by the EU
The EU has ordered almost 2.3 billion doses of different Covid-19 vaccines (and vaccine candidates) but since only two have so far received regulatory approval in the EU, the approval of the Oxford/Astra Zeneca inoculation will be a boon to vaccine campaign planners..
The EU has already secured a total of 600 million doses of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, and expects these to be delivered by the end of 2021 — despite some early discrepancies and transportation issues regarding its rollout.
The Commission is also urging EU states to boost their scientific efforts to determine the genomic sequence of the strain of the coronavirus that is prevalent in their countries in order to detect any new variants that may occur.
Reuters reports that the EU called on the governments of all its member nations to sequence “at least 5% of all positive tests;” currently, many nations’ health authorities are testing less than 1% of the coronavirus samples they receive.
The EU Commission also said that it was working with EU states to adopt a common approach on vaccination certificates to facilitate travel between countries by the end of the month.
Previously, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had openly called for a vaccine certificate to verify that travelers had indeed received the vaccine — an initiative that was backed by other tourism-dependent nations, such as Spain, which were hard hit by the pandemic-related travel restrictions last year.
Tourism-dependent countries heavily in favor of certificate
A videoconference of EU leaders will take place on Thursday, January 21, at which leaders are expected to take up the pressing issue.
Countries in which tourism is a large part of the economy, including Greece, Spain and Malta, have been openly supportive of the idea of creating some type of vaccination verification before people are allowed to travel freely once again.
Holland, however, is one nation which may take exception to that thinking, with one Dutch diplomat saying “No outright dismissal, but our parliament does fear the certificates may end up being used to determine whether people can travel.”
The issue of invasion of privacy is also rearing its head, according to the same official, who said that his country was concerned about these risks. The nation of Croatia as well has called for much more discussion regarding medical privacy before taking any decisions on the matter, according to another official.
Reuters reported the Dutch diplomat as saying any vaccination certificate was tantamount to obligating citizens to be inoculated.
Vaccine skepticism is an issue all around the world, and any compulsory inoculation campaigns could lead to those who are already skeptical of the shot to become even more negative regarding vaccination.