Covid-19: A year of vaccination in Europe did not allay fears or controversies


Twelve months later, the vaccination campaign within the European Union (EU) space will have saved the lives of thousands of people, allowed them to have a summer without confinement or tight restrictions and gave new vigor to the economies.

But, in these 365 days, there were also several setbacks and challenges, some of which remain: the fear of side effects, the problems of lack of production and distribution, the discovery of new, more contagious strains, the renewal of restrictions, the divisions between pro-vaccine and anti-vaccine people and the need for booster doses given the emergence of new variants of the coronavirus that causes the disease covid-19.

In recent months, the anti-covid 19 vaccination campaign in Europe has had to face two more “hot spots” discussion: the obligation and immunization of younger age groups.

In the final stretch of 2021, and given the shocks of the emergence of new variants of the coronavirus (the most recent known as Omicron), the return of new periods of confinement and tighter restrictions and the resistance of certain populations to vaccination, the mandatory nature of Vaccine became an issue, and the UN argued on Nov. 19 that this imposition could only be adopted for “legitimate health reasons” and under certain requirements.

In early December, the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, admitted the need for a debate on mandatory vaccination within the EU.

Several months earlier, in March, the same European Commission admitted that citizens of the 27 member states of the bloc would all be vaccinated by the end of the summer.

Austria anticipated and became the first country in Europe to announce (in November) that it was going to decree the mandatory vaccination for the covid-19 from February 2022, despite the protests of thousands of people.

In Greece, the vaccine is already mandatory for people over 60 years of age, while in Germany the new government led by the Social Democrat Olaf Scholz managed to pass, on December 10, a law that requires health professionals to be vaccinated against The covid-19, similarly to what happens in other countries in the community space such as France or Italy.

This could have been the first step before the extension of mandatory vaccination to the rest of the German population, which is expected for the beginning of 2022.

The Luxembourg Ministry of Health has also admitted that it is studying the possibility of obliging the entire population to be vaccinated.

The obligation of vaccination, or its possibility, has already led thousands of people to demonstrate in the streets in sometimes violent protests, as in Italy, where crowds also criticized the entry into force of the obligation to present the digital vaccination certificate to access to workplaces.

In several European countries, including Portugal, the digital certificate covid-19 is used to enter certain venues such as restaurants, concert halls or nightlife venues.

Approved on December 21 by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Commission, the vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech – the first to have “green light” in Europe – began to be distributed at the same time by the EU Member States from December 27, 2020, although not all started to administer it on the same day.

The new year was then looked upon with great optimism, as the vaccination campaigns progressed, but a few days after 2021 had started, several European countries decided to extend the confinements: Europe reached 30 million infected and the distribution at the time. vaccines began to experience problems and lag behind.

The entry in February guaranteed the existence of a third wave of covid-19, with Spain and Italy vying for the most alarming numbers.

Over the next month, concerns arise about the side effects of the vaccines.

Austria announced the suspension of the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine when a nurse was known to have died, with serious clotting problems, after receiving the drug, and within a few days, the decision was imitated by dozens of countries.

On the other hand, travel to and from countries where new variants were detected were banned and vaccination incentives reinforced.

The discussion at the time became the adoption of vaccination certificates in order to facilitate the travel of people immunized against the covid-19.

The biggest supporters of this “vaccination passport” were the countries where tourism has the greatest weight, such as Greece, Spain and Portugal, but it was the Nordic countries, such as Iceland, Sweden and Denmark, which first announced the creation of these documents as well. to have access to sporting or cultural events.

France and Germany, on the other hand, were very reticent, as a large part of their populations was not vaccinated.

The EU digital certificate, proof of vaccination or recovery from the SARS-CoV-2 virus infection, entered into force in the Union in early July.

The anti-vaccine movements were already a concern for health authorities, but it was at this time that the demonstrations – in protest against vaccination certificates, seen as a way of discriminating against people – turned violent.

Before the summer, the vaccine dossier had already faced another problem: the need to increase production to achieve global vaccination.

This situation led the European Commission to say in May that it was available for “to evaluate” the suspension of patents on vaccines against Covid-19, a US proposal that was not successful.

Last November, the EMA approved the extension of the use of the pediatric vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty) to children aged between five and 11 years, considering this option to be safe and effective.

Another subject that triggered an intense slashing of arguments between the most diverse sectors of European society.

Several EU countries, such as Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece and Hungary, started in mid-December with the vaccination campaign for children in this age group.

Others, as was the case in France, started vaccinating only children who had comorbidities, but later decided to generalize the process of voluntary vaccination to all.

A few days from the end of a “year of vaccines“, the disease covid-19 adds more than 5.36 million deaths worldwide and about 275 million infected.

On December 20th, the EMA approved the emergency marketing of the vaccine against the covid-19 from Novavax, for use in adults.

This is the fifth vaccine with emergency authorization in the EU, joining those from Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Janssen and AstraZeneca, which are part of the Portuguese vaccination plan that also started on December 27, 2020.

Community data released this month show that more than 82% of the bloc’s adult population received at least one dose of the anti-cancer vaccine.covid-19 and more than 13% have already received a booster dose.


Source: Futebol 365 – Notícias by www.futebol365.pt.

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