It’s been more than a year since the Covid-19 pandemic spread across Europe and the world. Millions have died from this virus. The magnitude of the crisis – socially, economically and on a personal level – is unprecedented in the history of the European Union. We must continue to ramp up efforts to expand vaccine manufacturing and distribution.
By presenting this paper, the S&D Group wants to reiterate its support for a European approach towards the procurement, distribution and deployment of vaccines. We are firmly convinced that only by working together, both at the European level and internationally, can we overcome this and future crisis.
S&D MEP and vice-president responsible for health, Heléne Fritzon, commented:
"We are proud as Socialists and Democrats to present our vaccine paper, which aims to be the point of reference for the actions the European Union must take to get ready in case of a possible new pandemic in the future. The mistakes of the past must not be repeated again. In particular we need co-operation, more research and to share our efforts: working together is necessary to secure not only the lives of our roughly 440 million citizens in the EU, but also to be a force to reckon with globally.
"We must ensure that equality is key. There cannot be any discrimination when it comes to vaccination. Carers and workers in the service sector, who are predominately women, are more exposed to the virus. Frontline workers must have access to the vaccine. No one is safe until everyone is safe.
“We call for vaccine production to be increased even more – not only for the EU but we need to ensure access to vaccines, diagnostics and treatments globally, and we need to share excess doses with countries that need our help. We must show solidarity globally.
"It is of the greatest importance to remove trade barriers both for vaccines, medicines and equipment, so that a smooth roll-out is made possible. Not only in Europe but also worldwide.
"The waiver of intellectual property rights needs to be considered carefully. The vaccine strategy paper calls for proactive, constructive and text-based negotiations for a temporary waiver of the WTO TRIPS Agreement."