EU must consider mandatory Covid jabs, says Von der Leyen
World17:2701 December, 2021

The EU must consider mandatory vaccination in response to the spread of the “highly contagious” Omicron Covid variant across Europe

EU must consider mandatory Covid jabs, says Von der Leyen
Read us on

The EU must consider mandatory vaccination in response to the spread of the “highly contagious” Omicron Covid variant across Europe, the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, has said.

In a call to arms, Von der Leyen said the EU’s 27 member states should rapidly deploy booster doses and backed countries that temporarily enforced pre-travel PCR tests even within the bloc’s borders.

Asked whether she supported the Greek government in imposing a €100 monthly fine on those aged 60 and over who failed to get a Covid jab, Von der Leyen said the spread of the disease and the lack of vaccine take-up in parts of the EU meant mandatory vaccination had to be on the table as a policy response.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels, Von der Leyen, who practised as a doctor before her political career, said: “If you’re asking me what my personal position is, two or three years ago, I would never have thought to witness what we see right now that we have this horrible pandemic.

“We have the vaccines, the life-saving vaccines, but they are not being used adequately everywhere. And this costs … This is an enormous health cost coming along.

“If you look at the numbers, we have now 77% of the adults in the European Union vaccinated or if you take the whole population, it’s 66%. And this means one-third of the European population is not vaccinated. These are 150 million people.

“This is a lot, and not each and everyone can be vaccinated – children, for example, or people with special medical conditions – but the vast majority could and therefore, I think it is understandable and appropriate to lead this discussion now.

“How we can encourage and potentially think about mandatory vaccination within the European Union, this needs discussion. This needs a common approach, but it is a discussion that I think has to be met.” On Tuesday, Greece said it would make Covid vaccinations mandatory for people aged 60 in order to protect its faltering health system.

About 63% of Greece’s 11 million population are fully vaccinated but there are 520,000 people over the age of 60 who have failed to get a jab.

Von der Leyen said: “Over the last couple of weeks, many of us have witnessed it firsthand: Covid 19 has resurged infecting some of our close friends, co-workers, family members or loved ones.

“The rapidly increasing case numbers are putting an increasingly heavy strain on our hospitals and health workers. On top the arrival of the presumably highly contiguous Omicron variant calls for our utmost attention. But I am convinced that the EU is up to the task to tackle these challenges.”

Your opinion