EU urged to speed up vaccine rollout

A vial of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at University Hospital in Coventry, England, December 2020 (CNS/Jacob King pool via Reuters)

Caritas Europa and the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the EU (COMECE) have teamed up to call on European institutions to swiftly rollout COVID-19 vaccines and to ensure equity in accessing them. Source: Vatican News.

The EU has had a slow start to its vaccination program. Around 5 per cent of EU residents have received a dose, compared with 21 per cent in the UK and 14 per cent in the US.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen admitted earlier this month that the scheme has had problems.

In their statement, Catholic leaders raised several questions regarding the program. “How were deals negotiated between the EU institutions and the pharmaceutical companies? And why were public institutions so seemingly unprepared?”

COMECE and Caritas, however, praised the EU’s commitment to the principle of solidarity, best seen in its decision to procure doses as a bloc rather than as single nations.

Now that jabs are reaching arms, “richer countries can increasingly see a light at the end of the tunnel and a presumptive end to a health and economic catastrophe”.

Yet, European bishops and Caritas leaders urged the EU to promote widescale vaccination for the health and safety of all, even those living in poorer nations.

“It is urgent to implement mass vaccination campaigns quickly,” they say. “Ensuring vaccine access for all – that they are available and affordable – is a global moral urgency.”

FULL STORY

Catholic leaders call on EU to speed up vaccine rollout (By Devin Watkins, Vatican News

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