The European Union has distributed enough coronavirus vaccine doses to its member states to put the EU on track of having at least 70 per cent of its adults fully vaccinated by the end of July.
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has previously promised this would be achieved this summer, and said 500 million doses would be distributed across the union by today, RTÉ has reported.
Despite this, there has been no word from the UK government as to whether fully-vaccinated EU citizens and Brits living in the EU will be able to not quarantine upon their UK arrival, in the way that NHS-vaccinated people will be able to from 19 July.
In a recent video statement, von der Leyen said: “The European Union has kept its word. This weekend we have delivered enough vaccines to member states to be in a position to vaccinate fully at least 70% of the EU adults this month.
“But Covid-19 is not yet defeated. We are prepared to deliver more vaccines, including against new variants.”
The bloc intends to vaccinate its entire eligible population by the end of September, and has been relying mainly on the Pfizer-BioNTech jab.
The Commission has also purchased other vaccines, having ordered almost 40 million additional doses from Johnson & Johnson last week.
‘Open to the world’
In May, von der Leyen praised the EU’s vaccines contribution to the world, whilst hinting at the fact that the UK is keeping them to itself.
At the time, the bloc was exporting to over 90 countries the same number of doses as it had distributed in the EU: 200 million.
In a video conference, von der Leyen said: “Europe achieved this success, while remaining open to the world.
“While others keep their vaccine production for themselves, Europe is the main exporter of vaccines worldwide.”
She added: “So far, 200 million doses of vaccines produced in Europe have been shipped to the rest of the world. Europe exports as many vaccines as it delivers to its own citizens.
“To be clear, Europe is the only democratic region in the world that exports vaccines on a large scale.”
They argued the latest announcement means families will still struggle to reunite, a year and a half into the Covid pandemic.
In a tweet released earlier this week, transport minister Grant Shapps said: “From Monday 19 July at 4am, #British fully vaccinated adults will not need to isolate from amber list countries, including those on clinical trials – another step to fully reopening international travel.”
His statement was later rectified by the Department for Transport, who said that in fact it is only NHS-vaccinated UK residents who will benefit from the new measures.
But British citizens and EU citizens living in the European Union will not benefit from the same rules, preventing many from being able to visit their families in the UK because of high costs and holiday time required for quarantining.
There are also reports of EU citizens living in the UK who had their vaccines abroad and are unable to travel under the new rules because their vaccines were not done by the NHS.