The European Union announced the creation on Wednesday from a new biomedical authority designed to better respond to future pandemics, as it seeks to avoid repeating mistakes that affected its early response to the coronavirus.
Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, the bloc's executive body, also pledged to donate 200 million additional doses of the coronavirus vaccine to middle and low-income countries in by mid-2022, in addition to the 250 million already pledged by the end of the year.
In his annual speech on the stat e union, Ms von der Leyen described immunization gaps as one of thegreatest geopolitical issues facing nations.
"The extent of the injustice and the level of urgency are evident," said Mrs von der Leyen in front of the legislators of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, in the east of France. EU. member countries had given only 18 million doses in early September, a fraction of the 200 million pledged.
While most developing countries do not have not yet administered a single dose of coronavirus vaccine, including in the immediate vicinity of the European Union, more than 70% of adults across the block have been fully vaccinated. Ms von der Leyen said this places the bloc among the world leaders in immunization.
"We have succeeded," she said, although she admitted that the bloc faced wide gaps at the national level, such as several countries in 'Eastern Europe are lagging behind.
Ms. von der Leyen's confident tone on Wednesday contrasted sharply with her speech at the 'last year, when new cases of Covid-19 were multiplying throughout the block and the coronavirus vaccines were months away.
" When I stood here in front of you a year ago, I didn't know when and if we might have a safe and effective vaccine against the pandemic, "she said.
The European Commission, which negotiated vaccines on behalf of member countries, has come under heavy criticism for the slow start of its vaccination program . The committee signed its preMier agreement on behalf of member countries months after the United States, hampering vaccine deliveries and later vaccination campaigns.
Deployment again has gained momentum in recent months , and many countries have now overtaken other wealthy nations like Britain, Israel and the United States, and have started giving booster shots to millions of older and vulnerable residents.
On Wednesday, Ms von der Leyen said the new agency, known as Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority, or HERA, would aim to "ensure that no virus will ever turn a local epidemic into a global pandemic again.
The new authority is destined to become the European equivalentfrom the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, the federal health agency that focuses on vaccine development and pandemic preparedness.
It is expected to receive 50 billion euros (approximately $ 59 million) in funding by 2027 and will operate alongside existing health agencies in the EU, the European Center for Disease Control and the European Union. Medicines Agency.