The European Commission must publish contracts with manufacturers of covid-19 vaccines and try to avoid impending delays in their distribution. The countries of the European Union, on the other hand, should not act on their own, but rather strive for the introduction of a common vaccination certificate as soon as possible. During a discussion with Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakidis, a number of MEPs called for it on Tuesday. According to the Commissioner, Brussels will strive for greater transparency and further coordination between states.
As part of joint purchases, the Commission secured 2.3 billion doses of vaccine from six manufacturers for 450 million people in the Member States. However, only two preparations have been approved for use in the EU so far – from the American-German association of companies Pfizer / BioNTech and from the American company Moderna. Some states have complained in recent weeks that the distribution of vaccines is too slow, due to a lack of production capacity. Criticism intensified last Friday when Pfizer announced production cuts for the next few weeks.
According to a number of MEPs, the commission should declassify all the details of vaccine purchases. “Why isn’t all the information about these purchases publicly available when they were paid for with public money?” asked, for example, the head of the liberal faction, Dacian Ciološ. Philippe Labmerts, chairman of the Greens’ Club, said that the public should know not only the prices of vaccines, but also who will be responsible in the event of their failure: whether the authorities or pharmaceutical companies.
“The Commission must transparently present the facts and figures of how many vaccines, in what time horizon, under what conditions and from which manufacturers it ordered, and document the criteria on which these decisions were made,” said Czech Conservative MEP Jan Zahradil. According to him, it is unacceptable for the commission to prefer their producers after pressure from some countries, as recent information from the German media suggests.
Other politicians emphasized that, despite some difficulties, the EU would cope better with “the biggest vaccination action in history” because, as a whole, it had lower prices for manufacturers and better access to vaccines.
“We cannot allow health nationalism to jeopardize the principle of cooperation with which we have launched a common vaccination strategy,” Iratxe García, head of the European Parliament’s socialists, warned against efforts by some countries such as Germany and Denmark to purchase more vaccines outside joint contracts.
A large number of legislators are of the opinion that vaccinating the majority of the European population as soon as possible could allow the Union to return to normal operation this year. According to them, mutual recognition of vaccination certificates will be essential.
“Once the vaccine is widely available to the public, a mutually recognized vaccination card would help restart the economy, whether thanks to people’s ability to travel or, for example, the resumption of cultural events,” said Czech MEP Stanislav Polcak of the largest People’s Parliament.
Commissioner Kyriakidis said CureVac, which had MEPs inspected the contract last week, could be followed by other manufacturers. According to her, the approval of other vaccines for the EU market should be a matter for the coming weeks. The third vaccine from AstraZeneca could be conditionally authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) at the end of January.
Source: Tyden.cz by www.tyden.cz.
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