International Desk, Dec 25 (EFE).- A year after Covid-19 vaccination campaigns in Europe kicked off, inoculation rates across the region are progressing unevenly, with stark contrasts between countries.
While southern countries like Portugal and Spain have the highest vaccination rates in Europe, eastern states including Russia and Romania have the lowest, mainly due to the populations’ mistrust in their governments.
THE HIGHEST RATES
With 87.5% of its total population of 10.3 million fully vaccinated against severe Covid symptoms, Portugal is one of the countries with the highest vaccination rates in Europe.
When children over the age of 12 are included in the count, Portugal has vaccinated 98.1% of its citizens and is advancing in its Covid-19 booster campaign and vaccination of children aged 5 to 11.
Similarly, Spain has vaccinated nearly 90% of its 47 million citizens, with 89.9% of its over 12 years of age population having received the full course of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Another southern European country, Italy, has vaccinated 85.49% of its citizens.
Meanwhile, northern countries like the Republic of Ireland also have high vaccination rates with 90.45% of people over the age of 12 fully inoculated and 32.7% of people having received the booster shot.
In the neighbouring United Kingdom, 81.8% have received the full vaccination course and over 50% the booster shot. Despite the high vaccination rates, cases have surpassed 100,000 in the country, driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant as well as the lifting of coronavirus restrictions since the summer.
SKEPTICISM IN THE EAST
Historically skeptical or distrustful of authorities, people in eastern European countries have the lowest vaccination rates to date.
Despite Russia being one of the first countries to start its vaccination campaign, just over 70.8 million people, 58.2 % of the population, have received the full course of the vaccine.
Authorities have admitted that the vaccination campaign is progressing slowly, mainly due to the reluctance of the population to receive the Russian-produced vaccine, Sputnik V.
Poland also has a low rate with 55% of its population fully vaccinated against Covid-19 while the lowest lie in Slovakia (46.8 %), Bulgaria (26.6 %) and Romania (39.6 %).
It is a similar situation in North Macedonia and Albania – only 39% of Macedonians and 35.5% of Albanians have received the full course.
Meanwhile, countries including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and Belgium are among the countries that have reached stagnating rates.
Germany, with just over 70% of the population fully vaccinated, is one of the countries to have put mandatory vaccination on the table while Austria has announced it will make Covid-19 vaccines mandatory from February by fining people refusing to be vaccinated up to 3,600 euros. EFE