EU calls on Member States to prepare for launch of coronavirus vaccine

Ursula von der LeyenPhoto: Yves Herman / Pool via AP

EU countries must prepare to distribute a future coronavirus vaccine and ensure that it is available and that people can afford it, the European Commission (EC) said on Thursday.

The EC set out its vaccine strategy on Thursday, listing several important steps to ensure effective vaccination when the vaccine is ready.

Among the recommendations, the Member States should ensure that they have adequate transport and storage capacity and that they have sufficient staff with appropriate training. 

Member States are also encouraged to be clear in communicating the benefits and risks associated with COVID-19 vaccines.

“We must prepare now”

“If we want to be successful in vaccination, we must prepare now,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen noted. 

She will present the strategy at the summit meeting of EU leaders in Brussels next Thursday and Friday.

“We have worked hard to reach agreements with the drug manufacturer. Now we have to make sure that we are ready to distribute the vaccine when it is available,” she said.

The EC noted that there would be limited access to the vaccine at an early stage and therefore proposed groups that the Member States may consider prioritizing, such as health professionals and carers, people over 60, people with a health condition that makes them particularly vulnerable, key personnel, and people who cannot maintain social distance.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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