Wednesday, 31 March 2021
Post-European Council Meeting: Statements
Many states across the European Union are experiencing a new wave of Covid-19. This is terribly frightening. The European Commission has admitted to the mistakes it made in procurement and we know of the issues with follow-up and contracts. It is fair to say there was an element of naivety in trusting the likes of AstraZeneca. One point on which I will agree with Boris Johnson is the connection between greed and some of the decision-making of that particular company.
We are all very hopeful about increased vaccine deliveries, with approximately 100 million doses set to be delivered in the first quarter and 360 million doses expected in quarter 2. I would welcome a timeline or breakdown on that. We are all hoping that 1 million or possibly more vaccines will be administered each month. We have our own difficulties, including with the roll-out. We had issues with the connected few who have been able to jump queues. We need to ensure none of this happens. We need people to respect and trust our roll-out. We need to do everything possible on that.
I would welcome any information the Minister of State has on the work of Thierry Breton, the Commission's vaccine hunter, including his contacts with pharmaceutical companies. Beyond that, what conversations have taken place in the European Commission on access to medicines, the WHO and C-TAP? The idea behind C-TAP is that, for a fair price, the pharmaceutical companies would forgo intellectual property rights and share knowledge to maximise the supply and distribution of vaccines. We have all heard the horror stories and seen the figures indicating that vaccination may not be completed globally until 2023 or 2024. It has been said many times that none of us is safe until all of us are safe.
I would also welcome an update on the conversations with President Joe Biden on the involvement of the United States in this matter.
It is absolutely necessary that we ensure that the full capacity of the pharmaceutical industry is put into delivering these vaccines to make our people safe. People need to be safe in this country, across the EU and the world. The dangers of importing strains are beyond belief so we must do everything necessary to ensure the safety of all our people.