UK booster roll out level twice the EU average

16 December 2021
What was claimed

The percentage of the UK population who have received a booster vaccine is double that of any other European country.

Our verdict

Incorrect. As of 12-14 December, 35% of the UK population had received a booster, below Iceland (54%) and only just ahead of Austria and Hungary.

What was claimed

The percentage of the UK population who have received a booster vaccine is double that of the EU.

Our verdict

Broadly correct. As of 12-14 December, 35% of the UK population and 19% of the EU population had been boosted.

"We've done almost double the percentage [of boosters] of any other European country"

During Prime Minister’s Questions, Boris Johnson said that the percentage of the UK population who have received a booster vaccine was double that of any other European country.

This is not true. 

It appears the Prime Minister may have meant to refer to the European Union average. Later that day, he said that “the UK as a whole now has twice as many boosters per head as the EU”. This is correct. 

When Mr Johnson was speaking at PMQs, the latest figures available on Our World in Data, covering 12-14 December, showed that Iceland had boosted more of its population (54%) than the UK (35%).

Even if you disregard Iceland on the basis of its much smaller population, the UK’s booster coverage is only just ahead of the rates in Austria (33%) or Hungary (31%), not double.

By comparison, across the EU as a whole, 19% of people had received a booster vaccine, just above half the level in the UK.

So the UK’s booster rollout is certainly very well advanced in comparison to many European countries, but not to the extent the Prime Minister originally claimed.   

We deserve better than bad information.

After we published this fact check, we contacted Boris Johnson to request a correction regarding the incorrect claim he made. 

He did not respond.

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