BRUSSELS—The European Commission said on Tuesday that 70 percent of the European Union’s adult population had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, hitting a target it set at the beginning of the year.
In January, the Commission said that “by summer 2021, member states should have vaccinated a minimum of 70 percent of the adult population.”
This was interpreted as meaning that each of the 27 EU member states should hit that target by September. Many, fearing they could not, criticized the Commission in internal meetings, documents seen by Reuters showed.
Now the bloc cumulatively has vaccinated 70 percent of its adult population, which means that at least 255 million people have received either two doses of Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca, or Moderna vaccines, or one shot of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson jab.
The situation differs vastly between countries. Malta has fully vaccinated over 90 percent of its adult population, data from the European Center for Disease prevention and Control (ECDC), an EU agency, show.
Ireland and Portugal have also immunized more than 80 percent of their adult population, and France is above 70 percent, according to ECDC figures, which usually are updated slightly later than information at disposal of the EU Commission.
In the east, Bulgaria has fully vaccinated just one fifth of its adult population, and Romania about 30 percent of adults. Croatia, Latvia, Slovenia, and Slovakia have immunized about half of those aged above 18.