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EU Surpasses US in Vaccination Rate with 70% Inoculated

EU vaccination rate is higher than USA
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, with a shipment of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Credit: European Commission

Europe has surpassed the US with its vaccination rate: 70% of European adults currently having had at least one does of the vaccine. The US currently trails Europe by 1% with 69% of its adult population vaccinated.

Europe has now caught up to America after the latter’s huge head start in the initial days of the international vaccine roll-out. The US is currently struggling to sway its unvaccinated population to get the vaccine, an effort that involves new sets of rules for those who have opted not to get the shots.

Europe trailed the States in the first month of the vaccines’ availability by a full 10%. By late March the continent realized it had hampered its progress by attempting to acquire vaccine doses collectively instead of as individual nations.

This problem was quickly resolved in April, opening the floodgates for vaccinations amongst the 27 member nations of the EU. Europe currently administers more than five times the amount of vaccines per day than the United States, with 3,100,000 doses compared to the US’ 590,000. The US’ vaccination per day rate sharply decreased from its high of 3,300,000 in April.

How EU Vaccination Rate edged ahead of the US

Americans who have elected not to take the vaccine represent a large part of the population and have proved difficult to convince. Europe, when faced with vaccine skepticism, proceeded to introduce more intense rules for the unvaccinated, with Greece even creating “immune-only” venues and spaces only for those who have been fully vaccinated or have immunity through having had the virus in the last six months. People must also have the corresponding certificate to prove their status to gain access to the venues.

France and Italy created a similar program in their countries– dubbed “health passes” in France– that allowed public spaces to deny access to the unvaccinated. All three initiatives sparked protest, but their desired effect was achieved as well: there was a drastic increase in vaccinations in France in Italy immediately following the mandate.

While the US has not currently gone as far as to ban the unvaccinated from certain spaces like its European counterparts have, President Biden has still been taking cues from Europe’s success by creating new, stricter guidelines for unvaccinated federal workers in order to motivate them to get the vaccine.

The effort to vaccinate the majority of the population has been accelerated in the US and Europe by the spread of the Delta variant. The rise in coronavirus infections in both continents is occurring, according to global health officials, even as immunization rates in many nations are already quite high and are increasing in other areas around the world.

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