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EU health ministers gravely concerned over vaccine hesitancy

Jerome Hughes
Press TV, Brussels

EU health ministers express grave concern over vaccine hesitancy in some of the bloc's nations, including Bulgaria and Romania. Authorities are worried that COVID-19 might make a resurgence in the EU during winter, potentially leading to new lockdowns that could have dire economic consequences.

Around 90 percent of Portugal's population is now vaccinated. In Bulgaria the figure is just 22 percent. Both are members of the EU but in countries like Bulgaria and Romania people do not trust what they're being told about the vaccines. Senior European Commission officials attended a meeting of EU health ministers on Tuesday.  

Critics say EU health authorities are putting the bloc's vaccination strategy in peril by not giving a clear message on the benefit of booster vaccines. The eurozone economy is already at breaking point due to the pandemic. A conference in Brussels has been discussing the growing problem of long-term unemployment.

Gas and electricity prices are soaring in the 19-nation eurozone, adding to economic uncertainty. But gas and electricity costs aren't the only concerns.

And there's a direct link between health and the economy. At their meeting, EU ministers pledged to donate 500 million COVID-19 vaccines to less well off countries before the middle of next year.

Aid agencies insist the EU has a moral duty to keep this promise. Health authorities and economists say the move is in the bloc's own interest in the context of trying to prevent the virus from mutating.

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