Today the committees on environment, public health and food safety (ENVI) and industry, research and energy (ITRE) organised a joint public hearing on the critical issue of ‘how to secure access to Covid-19 vaccines for EU citizens’. During the hearing, key players representing the pharmaceutical industry, academia, civil society and the European Medicines Agency were questioned by members of both committees.
Members of the S&D Group reiterated the absolute need for transparency of research results, rapid manufacturing, and finally an equitable distribution of a safe vaccine for all in Europe.
S&D’s spokesperson in the environment committee, Jytte Guteland, commented:
“For the S&D Group, public health concerns and rights of Europe's citizens will always come before private interests. The world needs a rapid response to the pandemic, but we must ensure that we do not put our citizens’ health or rights at risk during the process. Hence, we will closely monitor that pharmaceutical companies are liable in case there would be any adverse effects resulting from a vaccine.
“We also expect the vaccine to be globally distributed, and not only benefit richer countries or citizens.
“Last but not least, it will be equally crucial that once a vaccine will be at our disposal, Europe has the necessary capacity to scale up production in order to avoid shortages or delays in providing the vaccine to all. No one can be left behind.”
S&D’s spokesperson in the industry and research committee, Dan Nica, said:
“There are high expectations from our citizens on research and on the capability of the pharmaceutical industry to deliver a reliable vaccine and an adequate treatment affordable to all against Covid-19. The EU has committed to having safe, effective and affordable vaccines for all European citizens within 12 to 18 months.
"Along with a quick response to Covid-19, we need, however, full transparency during the process. In times where fake news on the pandemic and scepticism around vaccines are on the rise, we desperately need to rely on the credibility and the trust of the industrial sector. We should also develop a systemic solution and a strategy for future forms of Covid.”