The European Commission announced on Tuesday (19 January) its plan to accelerate the roll-out of vaccination across the EU.
The Commission wants to see at least 80 percent of health and social care professionals and 80 percent of people over 80 years old vaccinated by March. But member states should also have vaccinated at least 70 percent of the adult population by the summer.
Each of the EU’s 27 governments are managing their own vaccination campaigns, including their pace and which groups get priority. The Commission’s recommendations are not binding.
The 70 per cent goal could mean inoculating over 200 million people, most likely with vaccines which need two doses per person. The EU has so far given a first dose to about 5 million people since it started its rollout at the end of December, the Commission said.
To meet its ambitious goal, the EU executive said it will work to boost the production capacity of vaccine makers with measures that could include investment in plants and faster regulatory procedures to authorise them.
The EU has ordered nearly 2.3 billion doses of approved and candidate COVID-19 vaccines, but only the ones developed by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech have so far received regulatory clearance in the bloc. They both need two doses to provide immunity.
The Commission also said it was working with member states to adopt a common approach by the end of the month on vaccination certificates to facilitate travel.