MONDAY, Aug. 9, 2021 (HealthDay News) — After lagging behind for months, the European Union (EU) now has a higher COVID-19 vaccination rate than the United States.
Rates of people in the 27-member EU with at least one dose have climbed from less than 4 percent in mid-February to 60 percent, while rates in the United States rose from nearly 12 percent to less than 58 percent, the Associated Press reported. The figures come from Our World in Data, an online science publication associated with the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.
Misinformation and partisan politics have contributed to a sharp drop in U.S. vaccinations, from more than 3.4 million shots a day in April to less than 600,000 a day at the end of July, the AP reported. As a result, the highly contagious delta variant has caused new daily cases in the United States to spike over the past month to numbers not seen since February, and the vast majority of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are not vaccinated, the AP said.
European authorities attribute their success to nationalized health care and a history of public confidence in the safety of shots. The slower approval process in the EU set the bloc back at the beginning, but that is now instilling more confidence in the rapidly developed vaccine formulas, Peter Liese, M.D., a European Parliament member from Germany, told the AP.
While the United States and Britain issued emergency authorizations of vaccines to get shots into arms quickly, the EU went through the longer process of granting full approvals.
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