Approximately 70.5% of EU adults received their first dose of the vaccine and 57.3% are fully vaccinated, meeting an EU-wide end-of-July deadline.
After addressing supply issues in March, the EU accelerated its vaccine campaign, vaccinating approximately 0.7% of its population per day. Its success is due to substantial vaccine supplies, carrot-and-stick incentives, and low levels of vaccine skepticism — 75% of bloc residents believe vaccines are “the only way to end the pandemic.”
However, the highly transmissible Delta variant is consuming the continent, forcing governments to impose mandatory vaccination policies which are arousing vaccine skeptics and members of European populist groups. President Macron’s announcement of a required health pass to enter restaurants and public transportation incited approximately 160,000 people to demonstrate last week, demanding “freedom” from “dictatorship.” Expect further opposition demonstrations as governments ramp up restrictions.
Though Europe is unlikely to return to 2020 level restrictions, so far, the reimposition of travel restrictions, low business optimism, and Covid-related supply chain bottlenecks are impeding the EU’s economic recovery. Although their 2% growth in the second quarter pulled the EU out of recession, expect the Delta variant threat to dampen the growth of the eurozone economy moving into the third and fourth quarter.
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Ava is an Analyst and regular contributor to the Daily Brief. She focuses on political and economic developments across Latin America and the Caribbean.