European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and European Council president Charles Michel at the end of the first day of a two-day video conference about the Covid-19 pandemic, in Brussels, Belgium, February 25 2021. Picture: REUTERS/OLIVIER HOSLET
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and European Council president Charles Michel at the end of the first day of a two-day video conference about the Covid-19 pandemic, in Brussels, Belgium, February 25 2021. Picture: REUTERS/OLIVIER HOSLET

The EU should discuss whether mandatory vaccinations are needed to help fight the ongoing spike in Covid-19 cases, as well as the new Omicron variant, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday.

“I think it is understandable and appropriate to lead this discussion now — how we can encourage and potentially think about mandatory vaccination within the EU,” she said during a news conference. “This needs discussion. This needs a common approach. But it is a discussion that I think has to be led.”

Germany’s incoming chancellor Olaf Scholz threw his support behind making Covid-19 vaccine compulsory and called for a parliamentary vote on the plan.

Greece, meanwhile, is imposing a monthly fine of €100 on people over 60 who aren’t vaccinated, calling it a health fee.

Von der Leyen noted that 77% of adults in the EU are vaccinated, and that full vaccination and wide use of booster shots remain the best way to fight the pandemic.

The head of Europe’s drugs regulator told the European parliament on Tuesday it’s not known if adaptations of the vaccine will be needed to fight off omicron, but it would take the agency three to four months to authorise a new version from the start of development.

The EU is also advancing the delivery of vaccine doses for children between 5 and 12, which were approved last week by the European Medicines Agency. Those deliveries will to EU nations will begin on December 13.

Bloomberg News. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen. Picture: OLIVIER MATTHYS/REUTERS
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen. Picture: OLIVIER MATTHYS/REUTERS
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