EU vaccination strategy is a success
As of 13 October, 75.7 percent of adults in the EU have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. This means that the majority of the population now have better protection from infection, contracting COVID-19 severely and being hospitalised. Vaccination is still considered to be the most effective means of combating the virus and its variants.
The EU is the world’s biggest exporter of vaccines
The European Union has also exported more than one billion doses of vaccine in the past ten months, delivering as much vaccine to the rest of the world as it has provided for the people in the EU itself. “EU-produced vaccines have been shipped to more than 150 countries on all continents – from Japan to Turkey, from the UK to New Zealand, from South Africa to Brazil,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Some 87 million doses have been supplied to low and middle-income countries through the global vaccine procurement initiative COVAX. “The European Union is by far the largest exporter of COVID-19 vaccines,” said von der Leyen. She also announced that in addition to exports, the EU would be donating at least 500 million doses to the most vulnerable countries in the coming months.
All in all, the EU Commission has secured up to 4.6 billion doses of coronavirus vaccine to date, with negotiations for additional supplies currently in progress. The Commission is also working directly with industry to expand vaccine production capacity.
Sharing vaccines fairly
The EU was an early advocate for providing safe vaccines to the whole world and supported COVAX from the outset. The initiative aims to supply 1.8 billion doses to 92 low and middle-income countries by the end of the year. So-called “Team Europe” – i.e. the EU, its member states and the European financial institutions – is one of the largest donors to COVAX, having mobilised more than three billion euros to date.
In addition to this, the European Commission has established an EU mechanism for shared used of the vaccine stockpile, making it easier for EU member states to donate coronavirus vaccine bilaterally to third countries. As a result, EU countries will send a total of 250 million doses to partner countries by the end of the year.
Germany will be able to donate 70 million vaccine doses this year – significantly more than the originally planned figure of 30 million.
Digital COVID certificate enables freedom of travel
The EU’s digital COVID certificate has likewise been a success. More than 591 million documents have now been issued. The certificate facilitates safe travel for citizens. It also makes a key contribution to the hard-hit tourism industry in Europe. With 16 non-EU countries already participating, the EU certificate is currently the only system of its kind functioning worldwide. 60 third countries have expressed their interest to the Commission in joining the EU system.
How can the EU work together to strengthen healthcare systems? What can the EU do to prepare us for future pandemics? Citizens are invited to participate in a Europe-wide dialogue process, the Conference on the Future of Europe. Get involved yourself – by contributing your ideas and visions or even by organising your own events. For further details, see this topic page.