The President of the European Commission (EC), Ursula von der Leyen, has defended the European vaccination strategy, but it threw a warning: new vaccines will be needed for new variants of coronavirus. The warning was made during an interview with the newspapers El País and Le Monde.
“I understand that people want to have the vaccine now, because the pandemic has subjected the population and society to enormous stress. The pressure is understandable and I accept it“Von der Leyen assures before stressing that”vaccines have been developed in 10 months, with a massive investmentwhen normally it would have taken between 5 or 10 years. ”
The president of the EC also does not hesitate to show your concern about the virus mutation. “As a doctor, what worries me now are the variants because I know that viruses mutate. That is why I believe that we must prepare for scenarios that we hope will not come.” If there is something undoubted, he insists, “it is that the world is going to need more vaccines if we take into account the variants“.
Ursula von der Leyen will attend this Tuesday the meetings of the main groups in the European Parliament to explain behind closed doors the community vaccination strategy, after the controversy with the pharmaceutical AstraZeneca for its delays in the delivery of vaccines in Europe.
Von der Leyen will participate in the meetings of the groups of the European People’s Party, Socialists and Democrats and Renew Europe (Liberals) during this afternoon to report on the progress in the European vaccination strategy taking into account the objective of having immunized 70 % of the population for the summer.
A fourth appearance before the group of the Greens / European Free Alliance is still pending confirmation. If it occurs, Von der Leyen would give explanations before the first, second, third and fifth groups of the European Parliament in number of deputies, the four who supported his nomination in a majority way.
Too MEPs are likely to question Von der Leyen about the dispute with Anglo-Swedish laboratory AstraZeneca, which will finally deliver to the EU half of the vaccines it had agreed to for the first quarter (40 million doses).
In the wake of this tug of war, the European Union has put in place a mechanism to force companies to apply for EU authorization when they want to export vaccines produced in community territory outside of it.
The Commission also ended up making public, in agreement with AstraZeneca, a part of the vaccine purchase contract that both signed, after criticism for the lack of transparency and accountability.
In addition to the appearances this Tuesday behind closed doors, several groups support that the president of the Community Executive appear publicly in the plenary session of the European Parliament on this matter, which would foreseeably happen in next week’s session in Brussels if a majority of groups agree.