The European Union hit its first target for mass vaccinations against Covid-19 in a major symbolic milestone, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Tuesday. Finland, however, lags behind.
"Seventy per cent of adults in the EU are now fully vaccinated. And that is more than 250 million people," von der Leyen said in a short video statement, heralding the "the great achievement."
"But the pandemic is not over and we must remain vigilant," the EU executive branch chief said, calling on more Europeans to get vaccinated quickly "to avoid a new wave of infections and to stop the emergence of new variants."
The bloc also needs to help other countries vaccinate, she added, "because we will only beat this pandemic if we defeat it in every corner of the globe."
The EU's vaccination campaign began in the final days of 2020, with the commission aiming to see 70% of those aged 18 and older inoculated by late September.
The European Commission hasn't set another goal beyond this initial target, but has made clear it wants to keep going to pursue the highest possible level of group protection.
Finland lags behind
Some member states were also slow to get going with vaccines, or lagged behind later, as is the case in Finland.
According to figures published by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), in Finland the percentage of fully vaccinated adults is 59% at the time of writing this article.
According to data published the same day by the Finnish Institute for health and Welfare (THL), the percentage of people over 12 years of age fully vaccinated is 55%.
Behind the strong average EU headline figures, there is still a worrying discrepancy in vaccination rates among the EU's 27 member states.
In Bulgaria, only around one in five adults has been fully vaccinated, ECDC figures indicate, compared to more than four out of five (85%) in Ireland.