EU Foundational Principles Demand Vaccine Equity

COMECE, 23 february 2021

The Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) and Caritas Europa are urging the EU institutions to ensure vaccine access for all, promoting a “widescale vaccination not only for Europe´s own safety and protection, but also for global public health as a public good”.

With the COVID-19 pandemic having already entered into its second year, COMECE and Caritas Europa praised the swift action of the EU Member States to mobilise economic resources to support the scientific community in developing COVID-19 vaccines, under the leadership of the EU institutions.

The European Union is called upon to quickly define in detail its Vaccine Strategy and to implement mass vaccinations campaigns “not only for Europe´s own safety and protection, but also for […] people living in poorer nations”.

COMECE and Caritas Europa welcome the global COVAX facility, aiming to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines also in economically weaker regions. The Catholic Church in the EU also stresses the crucial role the European Union should play in emphasizing the moral urgency to make vaccines available and affordable for all according to the principles of solidarity, social justice and inclusiveness upon which the European Union is built.

While different tools to combat the pandemic are now available, “organisational and logistical capabilities – reads the statement – must be developed to meet the demand for mass vaccination,” and the new HERA incubator mechanism should identify and eliminate bottlenecks in vaccine production and adjust output to respond to the emergence of new virus variants.

In this historic moment, the EU institutions are called to “offset the devastating impact of the crisis in terms of anxiety, emerging social inequalities, and the impoverishment of large segments of the world’s population”, as well as to “support its Member States to promote mass information and advocacy campaigns to overcome fears of vaccination and misinformation”.