The chief of the European Union’s executive arm said that EU nations should open a debate around making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory because too many people still refuse to get shots voluntarily, writes Euronews.
The EU-wide vaccination rate stands at 66%, and unexpectedly high case surges in much of the 27-nation bloc has led many member countries to renew mask and testing requirements, and to take other steps to curb infections.
Asked about the hot topic of compulsory vaccination, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it was a matter for each member state to decide, but regretted the amount of doses that are being left unused. Health policy remains a national prerogative in the EU.
“Two or three years ago, I would have never thought to witness what we see right now, that we have this horrible pandemic, we have the life-saving vaccines but they are not being used adequately everywhere. And thus this is an enormous health cost”, - von der Leyen said.
“One-third of the European population is not vaccinated. These are 150 million people. This is a lot”, - she told reporters.
“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 I think it’s a discussion that has to be led”.