The European Union announced on Wednesday the creation of a new biomedical authority designed to better respond to future epidemics, as she seeks to avoid repeating mistakes that affected her early response to the coronavirus.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, executive body of the bloc, has also pledged to donate200 million additional doses of coronavirus vaccine to middle- and low-income countries by mid-2022, on top of the 250 million already pledged by the end of the year.
In her annual State of the Union address, Ms von der Leyen described immunization gaps as one of the biggest geopolitical issues facing nations are facing.
"The extent of the injustice and the level of urgency are evident," von der Leyen told lawmakers of the European Commission. Parliament in Strasbourg, in eastern France, acknowledging that the bloc and other wealthy nations had not kept their promises.
But the bloc's commitments on vaccine donations have so far sounded empty: EU member countries had given only 18 million doses in early September, a fraction of the 200 million pledged. Covax, theglobal vaccine sharing program, of which the European Union is a part, last week reduced its dose forecast available this year , in part because rich countries continued to contain most of the doses of the world.
Nevertheless, Mrs von der Leyen's speech served as a reset for the European Commission after the first missteps in the vaccine supply which have took a more positive turn in recent months.
While most developing countries have not yet administered a single dose of the coronavirus vaccine, including in the immediate vicinity of the In the European Union, more than 70% of adults across the block have been fully immunized.
"We gave birth", she declared.d, although she acknowledged that the bloc faced great disparities nationally, as several countries in Eastern Europe were left behind.
Ms. Von der Leyen's confident tone on Wednesday contrasted sharply with his speech last year, when new cases of Covid-19 were multiplying across the bloc and vaccines against the coronavirus were months away.
“When I stood here in front of you a year ago, I didn't know when and if we could have a vaccine safe and effective against the pandemic, "she said.
The European Commission, which has negotiated the vaccines on behalf of member countries, has been strongly criticized for the slow start of its vaccination program . The commission signed its first agreement on behalf of member countries months after the United States, hampering vaccine deliveries and, later, inoculating ion campaigns.
Deployment again accelerated in recent months , and many EU countries have now overtaken other wealthy nations like Britain, Israel and the United States. Some have started giving reminders to millions of elderly and vulnerable residents, even though the World Health Organization has called on richer countries to delay the reminders until the end of the year, in order to allow more doses to go to the poorest countries.
To help the bloc to better prepare for future sanitary crisesres, Ms von der Leyen said the new agency - known as the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority, or HERA - aims to "ensure that no virus will ever turn a local outbreak into a pandemic again. world ”.
Understanding the mandates for vaccines and masks in the United States
- Vaccine rules . On August 23, the Food and Drug Administration a Granted full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine for ages 16 and over, paving the way for increased mandates in both the public and private sectorse. Private companies have more and more mandatory vaccines for employees. Such mandates are legally permitted And have been confirmed in court challenges.
- Mask rules . The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in July Recommended that all Americans, regardless of immunization status, wear masks in indoor public places in areas affected by epidemics, a reversal of directions he proposed in May. See where the C.D.C. directives would apply , and where states have instituted their own mask policies . The battle over masks is has become controversial in some states, with some the local leaders defy state bans .
- Colleges and universities. More than 400 colleges and universities demand that students be vaccinated against Covid19. Almost all are in states that voted for President Biden .
- Schools . Both California and The city of New York has introduced mandatory vaccines for educational staff. A survey released in August found that many American parents of school-aged children are opposed to compulsory vaccines for students, but were more supportive of mask mandates for students, teachers, and staff who do not have their vaccines.
- Hospitals and medical centers . Many hospitals and large healthcare systems require that their employees get vaccinated against Covid-19 , citing the increase in the number ofe cases fueled by the Delta variant and stubbornly low vaccination rates in their communities, even among their workforce.
- New York City . Proof of vaccination is required from workers and customers for indoor meals, gyms, shows And other indoor situations, although the application does not start until September 13. Teachers and others Education workers in the city's vast school system will need to have at least one dose of vaccine by September 27, with no possibility of weekly testing. City hospital staff Must also be vaccinatedner or be tested weekly. Similar rules are in place for New York State employees.
- At the federal level. The Pentagon has announced that it will seek to make coronavirus vaccination mandatory for 1.3 million active duty soldiers " no later than "by mid-September. President Biden announced that all civilian federal employees should be vaccinated against the coronavirus or undergo regular testing, social distancing, mask requirements and restrictions on most travel.
It is expected to receive 50 billion euros (about 59 billion dollars ) funding by 2027 and will work alongside existing EU health agencies, the European Center for Disease Control and the European Medicines Agency.
But its exact role remains unclear, as EU members each conduct their own health policy. The pandemic has brought to light the limitations of the European Center for Disease Control, which is responsible for coordinating each country's pandemic response plans, but has limited powers to enforce or modify states' actions.
Nevertheless, many welcomed the creation of the new agency, stressing the need for greater coordination within the EU level. Veronique Trillet-Lenoir, oncologist and legislator in the European Parliament, said the agency could strengthen solidarity between member countries of the bloc, which she lacked at the start of the pandemic.
"What the pandemic ofcoronavirus has shown, it is that the 27 Member States have fared much better together ", Ms. Trillet-Lenoir said, "and that no European country could have done better on its own.