Vaccines Versus Variants: Concerns Grow Over Delta Variant Despite Half of Europeans Being Jabbed

Written by | Tuesday, July 27th, 2021

Even though more than half of all European adults are now fully vaccinated, this milestone came as countries on the Old Continent are increasingly concerned about fresh outbreaks blamed on the fast-spreading Delta variant that are currently being battled by countries around the world. As many as 200 million Europeans had been fully vaccinated, more than half of the adult population but still short of a 70% target set for the summer, the European Union said last week (22 July). But despite this vaccination milestone reached, countries across Europe have been faced with fast growing covid infections, which has prompted German Chancellor Angela Merkel to urge more citizens to get jabs to deal with this “worrying momentum”.
Germany has seen an incidence rate of 12.2 new cases per 100,000 people over the past one week – more than double the rates in early July. The country has thus joined Italy, Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom and a number of other European nations that have seen cases climb in recent weeks spurred by the Delta variant, first detected in India. To tackle the spread of the more contagious Delta variant, the Italian government has required people to be fully-vaccinated before being allowed entry into closed-door events and spaces. From 5 August, only those with a ‘green pass’ to prove vaccination against Covid-19 will be allowed access. Also Germany is debating whether people who have not yet been vaccinated should face restrictions – after other countries like France and Greece made similar moves. “Vaccinated people will definitely have more freedoms than unvaccinated people,” Merkel’s chief of staff, Helge Braun, said on Sunday (25 July).
Ministers in the UK have confirmed they could force students in the country to be double vaccinated to attend lectures in person or stay in halls of residence, setting the government on a possible collision course with a number of its own MPs. “I think it’s really important that young people step forward for their vaccination,” the education minister Vicky Ford commented. It is another front in the government’s push for so-called domestic vaccine passports, an idea ministers had previously ruled out. A week ago, Boris Johnson said these would be necessary for people attending nightclubs or similarly crowded venues from late September. Also French MPs have approved an extension of the Covid Health Pass requirements from visits to leisure and cultural venues to include also bars and restaurants from early August. The law also makes vaccination against Covid-19 mandatory for healthcare professionals, but will not be required to visit shopping centres, like the government initially planned.

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