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Could Europe reach herd immunity by this summer?

Could Europe reach herd immunity by summer 2021? A European Union commissioner certainly thinks so. As incoming vaccines are expected to speed up the continent’s sluggish roll-out, the commissioner said Europe could reach have herd immunity by July.

Sure, it sounds a tad too optimistic for some, especially seeing as several European countries are currently re-imposing restrictions as they contend with surging COVID-19 cases, as well as mixed messages regarding the safety of a key vaccine.

“Let’s take a symbolic date: by July 14, we have the possibility of achieving immunity across the continent,” said Thierry Breton, the EU’s commissioner for the internal market told French broadcaster TF1. “We’re in the home stretch, because we know that to beat this pandemic, there’s just one solution: vaccination. The vaccinations are arriving,” he added.

Thierry breton

Photo: europarl.europa.eu

As it stands, over a third of France’s population is now under a renewed lockdown, while frustrations over virus curbs have spilled into weekend demonstrations all over Germany, Amsterdam, Bulgaria and Switzerland.

Europe is currently battling a third wave of infections, which has been complicated by a patchy vaccine drive that included several nations temporarily halting AstraZeneca’s shots, in response to isolated cases of blood clots. Most have since resumed the AstraZeneca vaccine, after the European Medicines Agency found it to be ‘safe and effective.’ That being said, the vaccine in question has only delivered 30% of the 90 million doses it promised the EU for the first quarter of 2021.

Breton said that he is absolutely confident that more vaccines will arrive soon, with between 300 and 350 million doses expected between March and June of this year. He added that no less than 55 factories would now be producing vaccines in Europe.