EU leaders: Vaccines should arrive at the same time in all Member States

They asked the Commission to propose a common framework for rapid antigen tests and for the mutual recognition of results

Photo: EU Ursula von der Leyen, Charles Michel and Angela Merkel (L-R).

One of the topics on the agenda of the EU summit on Thursday and Friday was the current state of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe. Discussions were focused on joint coordination efforts, especially with regard to possible Covid-19 vaccines and testing methods.

Leaders took a  commitment to strengthen efforts at EU level in particular in preparing for a gradual lifting of restrictions and a return to normal travel, including for cross-border tourism, when the sanitary situation allows. This means that no loosening of measures for the forthcoming Christmas and New Year's Eve holidays can be expected.

In the summit conclusions, they underlined the importance of preparations for the timely deployment and distribution of vaccines, including the development of national vaccination strategies, to ensure that vaccines are made available to people in the EU in good time and in a coordinated manner. It is important to provide clear factual information on vaccines and to counter disinformation, they said.

EU leaders welcomed the recent positive announcements on the development of effective vaccines against Covid-19 and the conclusion of advance purchase agreements by the Commission. They asked the Commission to present a proposal on a common framework for rapid antigen tests and for the mutual recognition of test results. A coordinated approach to vaccination certificates should be developed.

We reached an agreement on how we shall move forward on Covid-19 vaccines and mutual recognition of tests, EUCO President Charles Michel said during the press conference on Friday, adding that the next crucial stage will be “our ability to manage the distribution of these vaccines throughout Europe and elsewhere in the world that people can have fair and equitable access”

On the coronavirus pandemic, right now, the European Union is working full speed to review the safety of vaccines and make them available, EC President Ursula von der Leyen told media.

We aim to authorise the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine by the end of the year, subject to EMA's opinion, she underlined specifying that EMA's opinion on the Moderna vaccine should come before mid-January. And a rolling review of data for AstraZeneca/ Oxford and Johnson & Johnson vaccines is ongoing.

Von der Leyen emphasised as well, that “it is vaccination and not vaccines that saves lives”. “I called on all the Member States to finalise their preparations for the start of vaccination. We stand ready to support. We also care for our neighbourhood. The European Union will coordinate the donation of vaccines by Member States, in particular to protect the health care workers in the Western Balkans and in our neighbourhood,” she stressed.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also asserted that the vaccines should be delivered in a coordinated way so to arrive at the same time.

EU Council underscored as well that vaccination should be treated as a global public good. The EU will continue its efforts to contribute to the international response to the pandemic, including via the COVAX facility for guaranteeing affordable and fair access to vaccines for all.

The leaders highlighted the need to pursue work to increase resilience in the area of health, including by taking forward the proposals for a Health Union and making full use of the potential of health data in Europe.

Similar articles