In the Race to Herd Immunity, Can the EU Make Up for Lost Time?

MIN READApr 6, 2021 | 19:12 GMT

People wait to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at a community center in Latvia on March 30, 2021.

(GINTS IVUSKANS/AFP via Getty Images)

The European Union’s goal of reaching herd immunity by July will require a significant acceleration of its COVID-19 vaccination process. But variations in manufacturing and distribution capacity, along with public acceptance of the shot itself, mean that process -- and the bloc’s subsequent rebound in economic activity -- will be uneven. EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton told a French newspaper on April 5 that at least 70% of adults (the so-called “herd immunity” threshold where the virus can be easily controlled) in the European Union could be inoculated by mid-July as the bloc ramps up its vaccine rollout after a sluggish start. Breton said the European Union will begin distributing 100 million vaccine doses a month starting in April, after distributing 60 million doses in March and 28 million in February. But according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDPC), as of April 4, only 14.2%...

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