EU Leaders Consider Mandatory Vaccinations to Fight Omicron Variant

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European Union leaders said on Wednesday they were considering a number of public health options, including a vaccine mandate, to address the growing threat posed by the Omicron version of the virus that causes COVID-19. causes.

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Speaking to reporters in Brussels, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said currently little is known about the version, but enough is known to be concerned. She said they expect scientists to have control over the nature of the variant in about two to three weeks, but in the meantime are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen rings the bell at the start of the College of Commissioners in Brussels on December 1, 2021.

Von der Leyen said the best use of that time is to get more people vaccinated, and those who have been vaccinated should get a booster shot. She said more than a third of the European population – 150 million people – have not been vaccinated.

The president of the European Commission said that while not everyone can be vaccinated, most people can.

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“It needs discussion. It requires a common approach, but it’s a discussion that I think should happen,” she said.

Von der Leyen said Pfizer-BioNtech has indicated it may accelerate production and distribution of its children’s vaccine, which will be available to European children from 13 December.

He also said that Pfizer and Moderna are ready to deliver 360 million more doses of their vaccines by the end of March 2022, and that boosters are available to people who have received their initial shots.

The Commission also urged EU members to commit to a day-to-day review of travel restrictions and to readiness to implement all necessary controls, including decisive action if clusters of the Omicron variant are found.

Some of the information for this report was provided by The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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