The EU countries that have overtaken the UK's vaccine rollout

·3 min read
ALCABIDECHE, PORTUGAL - JULY 16: Vaccination booths are seen as mask-clad residents wait their turn to be inoculated at the Alcabideche Vaccination Center (CVC) on the day no-appointment vaccination was reassumed for people over 40 years of age during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic on July 16, 2021 in Alcabideche, Portugal. The head of Portuguese COVID-19 Vaccination Task Force Vice-Admiral Enrique Gouveia e Melo stated today that
Vaccination booths are seen as mask-clad residents wait their turn to be inoculated at the Alcabideche vaccination centre in Portugal. (Getty)

After a faltering start to the rollout, EU countries are now surging ahead with vaccinating their populations as the UK's effort starts to splutter.

Two more EU countries have overtaken the UK in the last week in terms of the proportion of the population who is fully vaccinated.

Belgium has double-vaccinated 58.9% of its population while Spain has double-vaccinated 58.31% as of 1 August, while the UK figure is 56.66%, according to Our World in Data.

Read: Just 16% of Brits think life has returned to normal since ‘freedom day’

Fellow EU member Malta, which overtook the UK in January, has also now double-vaccinated a massive 86.7% of people.

While the EU as a whole is still behind the UK at 39.97%, the rate at which the bloc as a whole is administering vaccines is now faster than the UK's.

The number of people in the EU who received their second jab increased by 5% in the last week, whereas in the UK, the rate increased by 3%.

Meanwhile, Belgium by increased 8% while both Portugal and Italy saw a 7% increase.

Several countries including Greece, Finland and Hungary had already overtaken the UK in terms of the speed of their rollout.

Earlier this year, the European Commission and EU countries came under fire for missteps at the start of their vaccine rollout, lagging badly behind Israel, Britain and the US.

The EU was criticised for being slower to negotiate contracts with vaccine manufacturers, and the European executive and drug regulator faced increasing pressure for what some consider slow vaccine approvals.

After a sluggish start to their vaccine rollout, many EU nations have now picked up the pace.

The UK on the other hand had a much faster rollout, with 45.88% of the population receiving its first dose by the end of March.

People pictured at the COVID-19 vaccination center at Standard de Liege, Monday 05 July 2021. In order to encourage the COVID-19 vaccination of as many people as possible, Wallonia is setting up vaccination units at soccer clubs Standard de Liege and Sporting de Charleroi. BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND (Photo by ERIC LALMAND/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)
A COVID-19 vaccination center at Standard de Liege in Belgium. (Getty)

But the county has recently started to experience a slowdown, with fewer young people taking up the offer of a jab compared to older generations.

Nearly eight months since the first COVID vaccine was given in the UK, more than three million 18 to 29-year-olds have yet to take up the offer of a first jab.

Vaccination rates vary across the four nations of the UK, but take-up among younger age groups remains consistently lower than the equivalent figures for older groups.

An estimated 32% of 18 to 29-year-olds in England, some 25% of 18 to 29-year-olds in Wales, about 28% of 18 to 29-year-olds in Scotland and 39% of 18 to 29-year-olds in Northern Ireland have yet to have the first jab, according to the latest official figures.

Watch: 85.5 million jabs given in the uK so far

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