Europe is facing a new wave of mutated COVID-19 cases and reporting more and more cases every day. Despite the availability of vaccines, the number of cases is increasing every day, urging health agencies to speed up their vaccination programs. The vice president of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas has recently stated in a media conference that 70% of the Europeans will get the COVID-19 vaccine by the mid of 2021.
All EU commissioners have agreed to this and confirmed to do all efforts for making it possible, launching their vaccination programs as early as possible. The COVID-19 vaccines are still relatively new and the vaccine made by only two companies has been approved so far. One of them is BioNTech/Pfizer and the other is Moderna, while other companies are all set to launch it any time soon.
Still, this vaccination program appears much lagged in most countries in comparison to the UK, US, UAE, and Israel who have already started their vaccination programs.
According to Stella Kyriakides, a Health commissioner, the combined-buying plan of the EU can only be implemented if there are already enough amount of vaccines available to buy. Even if that is possible, this will vaccinate 80% of the population which makes 450 million people. She also admitted that this vaccination approval and availability should speed up to meet the high demands.
Schinas also said that the EU has proposed all member states vaccinate at least 70% of their population so that the risk of this deadly infection is somehow controlled. By this time, he meant June 1st, but many health experts say that it may take much more than that.
Based on how countries determine and run their vaccination programs, the fate of this virus in the world will be decided in the next five, six months.
This situation regarding coronavirus vaccination is rather tense, as the European Parliament has already discussed the slow response of the vaccine rollout previously. This situation is somehow bottlenecked because of the limited vaccine production capacity and it is not because the EU has ordered lesser vaccine doses.
If all of the vaccine doses ordered by the EU are authorized, there are still millions of people who will be left behind. To fulfill this gap, either the production capacity should be increased or more companies should come forward with their vaccines approved and fit for human use.
EU plans to donate the extra doses to the low-income non-European countries through COVAX, powered by WHO. The commission also shares the aim of donating more vaccines for the other parts of the world for people who can’t afford them.
Kyriakides shared that the Commission is currently in an active discussion with the governments of European countries for making vaccine certification possible. If successful, this certification will be recognized and accepted all across the alliance.
This EU summit conducted online discussed various questions related to COVID-19 vaccines and shared the plans on pandemic management.