Out of the Tunnel? — No Need for Booster Jabs With 70% of EU Adults Fully-Vaccinated Against Covid-19

Written by | Saturday, September 4th, 2021

Some 70% of adults in the European Union are now fully-vaccinated against Covid-19, with only Bulgaria and Romania still continuing to lag behind. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday (31 August) described the figure as an “important milestone in our vaccination campaign”, amid warnings that the pandemic is not over. This comes as the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said Wednesday (2 August) that people who already had two anti-Covid jabs do not need further booster shots. ”There is no urgent need for the administration of booster doses of vaccines to fully vaccinated individuals in the general population, “the EU agency based in Sweden said. But specific individuals with depressed immune systems or who reacted badly to their first doses should be considered, it added. The report follows the World Health Organization’s criticism of rich nations for preparing to provide booster doses while poorer nations still struggle to get supplies for a first round of jabs.
Meanwhile, a deep generational divide and a reinforced geographical schism emerging after the Covid-19 pandemic could reshape European politics, a new study by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) found. The report entitled ‘Europe’s Invisible Divides: How Covid-19 is Polarising European Politics’, published on Wednesday (1 September), also says the pandemic has redrawn many Europeans’ attitudes towards politics and the role of the state. The lived experience of the Covid-19 pandemic has split Europe just as the euro and refugee crises did, with the south and the east feeling much more badly affected than the north and the west. Some people were affected directly by illness, some only experienced economic consequences, while others feel untouched by Covid-19. The economic victims are more likely than others to say that restrictions have been too severe, and they tend to be more skeptical about their governments’ intentions behind lockdowns. Europeans are divided over what they believe to be governments’ motivations behind restrictions: the Trustful have faith in governments; the Suspicious believe rulers want to cover up failings; the Accusers think governments are trying to increase their control over people. Poland, Germany, and France could each be emerging as archetypes for post-pandemic politics.
In a separate but related development, the EU has announced it would provide financial support for vaccine manufacture on the African continent with the specific aim of supplying Africa, as it seeks to fight back against accusations of ‘vaccine nationalism’.Following last Friday’s (27 August) ‘Compact with Africa’ summit, hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel as part of the G20 presidency, German pharmaceutical giant BioNTech SE has agreed in principle to manufacture vaccines at two sites proposed by the African Center for Disease Control: the Rwanda Biomedical Centre and the Institut Pasteur de Dakar.“This initiative is a very good step toward self-reliance in vaccines, including in COVID vaccine launched with the MADIBA – Institut Pasteur de Dakar project,” said Senegal’s President Macky Sall. “Supporting such initiatives to materialize quickly in Africa, would contribute to boosting COVID vaccine access and to building a sustainable health security for a stronger and more equitable economic recovery globally,” he added. The European Commission has said it will provide financial support as part of its ‘Team Europe’ plans to fund three vaccine hubs in Africa.

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