Europe

COVID vaccination: What is the root of the problem?

During the summit, heads of state and government spoke in favor of the European Commission’s plan to vaccinate at least eighty percent of the population over the age of eighty, as well as those employed in the care of the sick and infirm by the end of March this year. It is also planned to vaccinate seventy percent of the entire population by the end of the summer. Observers doubt the success of the initiative–and not just because of the slow pace of vaccination in many communist countries.

Billions could have been better spent

In recent weeks, the European Union has gone astray twice,” was L’Opinion’s verdict:

“The first time, on the issue of the speed of admission of vaccines. Of all Western agencies, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is the slowest, taking the longest time to approve the release of vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. Thus, precious weeks were lost, affecting the entire continent. And the second point is the EU’s negotiations with the pharmaceutical companies. … Wouldn’t it have been better if Europe had wondered how much money for bailouts and relief funds could have been saved and spent on shortening and increasing the supply of vaccines? Other countries have taken exactly that path — and now they are giving Europe a head start on the epidemic.”

Selfishness will boomerang back

In the race for vaccines, it’s important not to cut the bough where you sit, writes the Financial Times:

“If rich countries think only of themselves and sideline poorer countries in the battle for vaccines, they will not only show shameful selfishness but also harm themselves. If we let the virus rage unchecked in one part of the world, it will kill many more people. And it will mutate faster: it is possible that strains will emerge against which developed vaccines will prove useless. Both ethical considerations and self-interest tell us to regard vaccines as a global commons.”

Airlines and hotels choose customers

Die Presse disagrees with those who criticize the introduction of a European-wide vaccination passport:

“Airlines, hotel chains, and travel companies around the world that offer cruises all have an interest in minimizing the risks to their customers. … Since they are not obliged to accept customers who pose a risk to the health of others, they will try by all available means to stay away from them. … Of course, this is about data collection. But data concerning vaccinations will still be recorded somewhere — so why not immediately in a special electronic passport? Yes, people are under pressure, but in many cases, this has been the case for a long time: For example, when booking tickets for safaris in Africa, a certificate of vaccination against tropical diseases has long been required.”

Whoever is not in the is out of luck…

Being able to stir up a debate about whether vaccination should be compulsory or not is also a kind of luxury,” writes journalist Ovidiu Nahoi in his blog on the website of the Romanian edition of Radio France International:

“Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia, with a combined population of about 20 million, will fall far behind the 27 and countries in terms of mass vaccination. … Agencies vied with each other to quote the sobering conclusion of North Macedonian epidemiologist Dragan Danilovski, who compared the current situation to that of the Titanic: The rich take all the lifeboats and leave their less fortunate shipmates to fend for themselves. Many Balkan countries are pinning their hopes on Covax [the UN’s worldwide vaccination program] and the help of charitable organizations.”



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