Mandatory Covid vaccination within the EU needs to be discussed, says Von der Leyen 1 month ago

Mandatory Covid vaccination within the EU needs to be discussed, says Von der Leyen

The European Commission President said there are 150 million people unvaccinated in the EU.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said that, in her personal view, there needs to be a discussion at EU level about the idea of mandatory Covid-19 vaccines.

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Von der Leyen was speaking at a press conference on Wednesday (1 December) where she outlined the "severe double challenge" the EU is facing with the resurgence of the Delta variant and the new variant of concern Omicron.

In regards to Omicron, she said the European Commission did not know everything about the strain yet but said it knows "enough to be concerned", citing the variant's multiple mutations.

Von der Leyen added that Europe's best scientists were working day and night to learn more about the variant, before stating that full vaccination and boosters provide the strongest protection against Covid that is available now.

On Tuesday, Greece announced it will make Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory for those 60 and over, with unvaccinated people in that age bracket to be hit with a monthly fine of €100 from 16 January onwards.

At Wednesday's briefing, von der Leyen was asked her position on the topic of mandatory vaccination against the virus.

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“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," she answered.

“We have the vaccines, the life-saving vaccines, but they are not being used adequately everywhere. 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%.

"This means one-third of the European population is not vaccinated. These are 150 million people. This is a lot."

"Not each and everyone can be vaccinated – very small children for example, or people with special medical conditions – but the vast majority could.

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"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 led.”