The Malta Independent 2 March 2021, Tuesday

Alfred Sant questions transparency of EU strategy for Covid-19 vaccinations

Thursday, 21 January 2021, 10:15 Last update: about 2 months ago

Labour MEP Alfred Sant has questioned the implementation of the EU global strategy on Covid-19 vaccinations and said that many questions remain over the transparency of the whole deployment process of vaccines.

Under the EU Vaccines Strategy launched in June 2020, the European Commission negotiated and concluded advance purchase agreements with vaccines developers on behalf of EU countries. 

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The EU covers part of the costs faced by the producers in return for the right to buy a specified amount of vaccine doses in a given timeframe and at a given price, once they are granted market authorisation. 

During a plenary debate in the European Parliament, Alfred Sant said the common EU approach on a strategy to assure the development of a Covid-19 vaccine, and the eventual immunisation of the population, was commendable and deserved across-the-board support.

Still, many doubts remain about its implementation. Complaints have arisen about the rhythm of deliveries of vaccines at a European level. Despite being major players in financing the development of a vaccine, EU countries are lagging when organizing to administer it to their populations.

“How were deals done? How are they now being revised? And what constraints were allowed to pre-empt manufacture of the vaccine by a wider range of players in the market? Has it been a simple case of accepting that under free market rules, pharmaceutical companies needed to maintain exclusive rights on the production of vaccines? And what is the plan for a timely worldwide distribution of the vaccines?”, Alfred Sant asked.

In the current public health scenario worldwide, an anti-Covid vaccine cannot but be considered as a public good. Like it or not, it’s a war, Alfred Sant said. If needed to secure the means to win the war, all private goods become public.

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