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Vaccination rates below 55% in six EU nations

Jerome Hughes
Press TV, Brussels

EU health ministers meet in Brussels to discuss rising COVID-19 cases and growing pressure on the bloc's health services. Vaccine hesitancy is being singled out as the driving force behind hospital admissions, deaths and new restrictions.

Figures have just emerged which show that less than 55% of the population in six EU nations have received a COVID-19 vaccine, despite plenty being available. Experts say vaccine hesitancy is the main reason behind rising coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, deaths and the reintroduction of restrictive measures across the 27-country bloc.

EU health ministers have been meeting in Brussels to take stock of the crisis.
Question: "So, is this not a massive failure from the EU? Should the EU not be putting much more of its efforts to try and convince people to take the vaccines?"

Growing pressure on hospitals means that non-COVID patients are being neglected and those without private health insurance are falling between the cracks.

As EU health ministers met on Tuesday so too did the bloc's finance ministers. The message was, both old and new risks to the EU economy are materializing.

Bulgaria and Romania stand out as having the lowest vaccination rates in the EU. Fears over new variants have been heightened by the Omicron mutation.

At the start of the pandemic EU nations closed their borders and turned their backs on Italy, which was buckling under the pressure. It was left to Russia to fly in emergency essential medical supplies. It's a story the bloc's leaders never talk about. In a veiled reference to it here, health ministers say there must be better cooperation between member states when the next crisis emerges.

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