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Vaccines in Europe: where do we stand?

Europe aims at reaching the target of vaccinating 70% of the population by summer 2021. Even if it seems like a mirage at the moment. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reports that only 5.9% of the European population has received both doses and 13.9% at least the first dose (including non-EU countries that are part of the European Economic Area).

EU Commissioner Thierry Breton has assured that 360 million doses will be delivered by the end of the third quarter by Pfizer-BioNTech and 420 million by mid-July. It will therefore be increasingly difficult to blame the EU for 'not doing enough'. In the past few days, the Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, has tried to make an explicit request for the redistribution of the additional 10 million doses of the vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech - recently acquired by the European Union - using different criteria from the current ones. He believes that the current method of redistribution, based on the population of each country, may disadvantage smaller and less populous states such as Austria. They should therefore be compensated with a larger share of the additional supply of doses.

In reality, as reported by several European newspapers, Kurz's demands are mainly aimed at the Austrian interest and do not correspond to a real problem in the vaccination campaign. The Austrian vaccination campaign does not seem to be going well: it is estimated that only 13% of the population has received the first dose. This would explain why Kurz has implemented an aggressive European stance in order not to be affected in domestic politics.

Chancellor Kurz's request for redistribution initially led to 7 out of 10 million doses being given to the six countries furthest behind in the vaccination campaign: Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. As soon as Kurz realised that Austria would not be included in the group of six countries, he turned around and recommended a return to the population-based distribution criterion, refusing to participate in the new proportional mechanism and confessing to putting Austrian interests first.

It is crucial for solidarity not to be a game of convenience, it is important to protect European interests and not only national ones, especially when it comes to preserving the common good.

It is to be hoped, therefore, that thanks to everyone's efforts, the vaccination campaign will proceed smoothly in order to reach the European target: 70% of the population vaccinated by the summer. Certainly, there will be some criticism of the current system - for example, the possible vaccination passport, which should facilitate safe mobility especially for the summer period. Certainly with the arrival of the vaccine passport there will be an incremental recovery of tourism in our country and throughout Europe.


Translated by: Elena Briasco


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  • L'Autore

    Valeria Lavano

    IT: Valeria Lavano, studentessa italo-canadese nel corso di Laurea Magistrale in Studi Politici Internazionali presso l’Università degli Studi di Roma Tre. Ha conseguito un Master of Science in International Cooperation, Finance and Development e una laurea triennale in Scienze Politiche e delle Relazioni Internazionali.

    La sua passione per la politica e le relazioni internazionali è stata coltivata anche grazie alle molteplici esperienze vissute, quali la partecipazione attiva ai Seminari di studio preparatori alle carriere internazionali e comunitarie dell'Associazione Europea di Studi Internazionali (AESI) e la Summer School "Acting EuHope" dell'Istituto Toniolo, sotto l’Alto Patrocinio del Parlamento Europeo e con il Patrocinio della Rappresentanza in Italia della Commissione Europea, nel 2017. Dal 2015 è Membro dell'équipe nazionale del Movimento Studenti di Azione Cattolica (MSAC).

    Nella realtà di Mondo Internazionale ricopre il ruolo di Autrice per l’area tematica “Organizzazioni Internazionali”.


    EN: Valeria Lavano is an Italian-Canadian student in the Master of Science program in International Political Studies at the University of Roma Tre. She obtained a Master of Science in International Cooperation, Finance and Development and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Relations.

    Her passion for politics and international relations has been developed also thanks to the multiple experiences she lived, such as the active participation in the Preparatory Study Seminars for International and EU careers of the European Association of International Studies (AESI) and the Summer School "Acting EuHope" of the Toniolo Institute, under the High Patronage of the European Parliament and with the Patronage of the Representation in Italy of the European Commission, in 2017. Since 2015, she has been a Member of the national team of the Student Movement of Catholic Action (MSAC).

    In Mondo Internazionale, she is an Author for the "International Organizations" thematic area.

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