Two days before the summit of EU leaders, the European Commission presented recommendations for further actions in the fight against the pandemic published on Tuesday. The priority is to speed up vaccination. “Our goal is to vaccinate 70 percent of adults by summer,” said President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.
First of all, the European Commission is calling for an acceleration of vaccination throughout the European Union – in its opinion, by March 2021, at least 80 percent of people over 80 years of age and 80 percent of health and social care workers in each Member State should be vaccinated. By summer 2021, Member States should vaccinate at least 70 percent of the adult population.
“The goal is to vaccinate 70 percent of adults by summer.”
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, stressed that “vaccination is key to overcoming the crisis”. – We have already provided enough doses to vaccinate the entire population of the European Union. We now need faster dose delivery and vaccination speed up. Our goal is to vaccinate 70 percent of adults by summer, she said. – This could be a turning point in our fight against the virus. In any case, we will end this pandemic when people around the world have access to vaccines. We also set ourselves the goal of supporting and providing vaccines to our neighbors and partners around the world, she added.
The Commission also calls on EU countries’ authorities to continue to enforce social distancing, limit contacts on their territory, combat disinformation, coordinate travel restrictions, speed up testing, and increase contact tracing and genome sequencing to quickly detect new virus variants.
The communication published on the website of the European Commission also sets out key tasks for the near future for the Member States, the Commission, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). They are expected to reduce the risk of infection and keep the spread of the virus under control.
“Member States should update their testing strategies”
“The Commission, Member States and EMA will work with businesses to fully exploit the European Union’s potential to increase vaccine production capacity. The Commission is working with Member States on vaccination certificates to ensure that they are fully compliant with EU data protection rules (…). A common position is to be agreed by the end of January 2021 to enable the swift use of certificates in health systems across the Union and beyond, “reads the Commission document.
“Member States should update their testing strategies to take into account new (virus) strains and extend the use of rapid antigen tests … they should urgently increase genome sequencing to at least 5%, and preferably 10% positive test results.” – informed.
“Measures should be taken to further reduce the risk of portability associated with means of travel (…). Any unnecessary travel should be strongly discouraged until the epidemiological situation has significantly improved. Proportionate travel restrictions, including testing of travelers, should be maintained for people traveling from areas with a higher prevalence of variants of concern, ‘enumerates the European Commission.
EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides stressed that cooperation, solidarity and determination could soon ensure the fight against the virus. “We must act quickly against the new variants of the virus,” she pointed out. – It takes time to vaccinate all Europeans and for this we must take coordinated steps. Vaccinations, testing and sequencing need to be done faster, she stressed.
Main photo source: ALEXANDRA WEY / PAP / EPA