The EU has said 200 million Europeans had been fully vaccinated, more than half of the adult population but still short of a 70% target it had set for the summer.

European Commission spokeswoman Dana Spinant told reporters that based on the latest data of the European Centre for Disease Control "54.7% of the adult population is fully vaccinated with either two doses or one dose in the case of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine".

"We have 68.4% of adults in the EU who have already had their first dose," she added.

"We are now among the regions of the world that have vaccinated the most, but it is important that this progress is distributed in a more balanced way so that there are no pockets where the virus can spread and mutate," she added.

The EU's rollout began more slowly than in Britain and the United States because of supply shortages, and drew heavy criticism during the first months of the year.

The European Commission, which coordinated vaccine orders for the 27 member states, was the subject of many of the complaints.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen had announced on 10 July that the EU had enough doses to vaccinate "at least 70% of the adult population this month".

According to official data compiled by AFP, just over 440 million doses have been administered in the European Union. That is 98.4 doses per 100 inhabitants, while the United States are at 102.4 per 100 inhabitants.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has said the EU has enough doses to vaccinate 'at least 70% of the adult population this month'

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More than 5.34 million vaccines have been administered in Ireland to date, with 66% of adults here fully vaccinated and 80% partially vaccinated, according to Health Service Executive CEO Paul Reid.

Tories threaten to boycott party conference over vaccine passports

Conservative MPs have threatened to boycott the Tory party conference if Covid vaccine passports are required for entry.

Former minister Steve Baker was among those to say they would not attend the event in October over their outrage that jabs could become mandatory to access crowded venues.

Conservative MPs having signalled they would not vote in favour of vaccine passports

Conservative rebels are planning to ally with Labour to defeat the plan to make full vaccination a requirement of entry for clubs and venues with large crowds from the end of September.

With at least 42 Conservative MPs having signalled they would not vote in favour of vaccine passports, the government faces the real prospect of a Commons defeat.

But, regardless of whether they are required by law, the party could insist they are used at the conference in Manchester in order to set an example.

India denies millions have died from Covid-19

The Indian government has rejected recent studies suggesting that millions of people have died in the country from Covid-19, several times the official toll of almost 420,000.

It said in a statement however that several Indian states were now "reconciling" their data after dealing with a spike in cases in April and May.

A study by US research group the Center for Global Development suggested anywhere from 3.4 million to 4.7 million people had died in India, between eight and 11 times the official number.

Researchers claim the death toll could be as high as 4.7 million

That would give the country the world's highest number of fatalities. Currently its official toll of 419,000 trails the United States on 610,000 and Brazil with 545,000.

The study is the latest to cast doubt on India's official numbers, pointing to poor record-keeping and the death rate per million being around half the global average.

Researchers have looked in particular at "excess mortality", the number of additional fatalities compared with normal times, and at death rates in other countries.

But the Indian government said it was an "audacious assumption that the likelihood of any given infected person dying is the same across countries".

US donates Covid vaccines to Georgia and Tajikistan

The US is donating doses of Covid-19 vaccine to Georgia and Tajikistan, a White House official has said.

Tajikistan will receive 1.5 million doses of the Moderna shot via the international vaccine distribution system known as Covax, while Georgia will get 500,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine in a bilateral donation, the official told the media.

The US wants to be the world's "arsenal" in the fight against Covid, this official said.

President Joe Biden has pledged to share 80 million doses of vaccine with the rest of the world.

US President Joe Biden wants the US to help other countries in the fight against Covid-19

Washington has pledged $2 billion to Covax, and also plans to buy 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine for countries of the African Union and 92 other low income nations.

Besides the health aspect, vaccine donations from wealthy countries have a geopolitical angle.

China and Russia are suspected of using vaccine donations to win favor with poorer countries.

The US, which has donated many doses to countries in Asia and this time is providing shots to two former Soviet republics, denies it is engaging in vaccine diplomacy.

"We are doing this with the singular objective of saving lives," the White House official said.