Aug 31, 2021 - World

70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

A Vacci-Bus is waiting for citizens on the Place des Martyrs on July 31, 2021 in Brussels, Belgium

Staffers at a Vacci-Bus wait for vaccination seekers in July at the Place des Martyrs in Brussels. Photo: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the EU one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

Driving the news: The EU surpassed the United States in vaccinations last month after campaigns taken across the bloc's 27 countries grew at a faster pace than anywhere else in the world.

The big picture: More than 55% of the entire EU population has been fully vaccinated, compared with 52% in the United States, 61% in Israel and 64% in Britain, per the Times.

  • The vaccination rate has slowed this month, but "it has yet to reach a ceiling that some experts and officials feared it would hit over the summer," the Times writes.

Between the lines: Discrepancies in vaccination rates among EU countries persist.

  • More than 80% of adults have been fully vaccinated in Belgium, Denmark and Portugal, and more than 75% in Spain and the Netherlands, while 45% of adults have been vaccinated in Latvia, 31% in Romania and 20% in Bulgaria, per the Times.

What she's saying: "The pandemic is not over,” von der Leyen said. "We need more. I call on everyone who can to get vaccinated."

Go deeper: European Union surpasses the U.S. in COVID-19 vaccinations

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