Reduce the incidence and then open step by step with more vaccination every day

"If all stay reasonable and patient for some more weeks now, spring and summer 2021 will be much better than spring and summer 2020,” said the spokesman on health of the biggest parliamentary group (EPP, Christian Democrats), Dr. med. Peter Liese. Liese said that the situation in some of the EU member states is still very problematic and one shouldn’t open up the public life too hasty.

“The developments in Ireland, Portugal and Slovakia show what can happen when we don’t have the virus under control,” said Liese. On the other hand, Liese said that he is very optimistic. “When looking at spring, we will have more and more vaccine every week. If we have vaccinated the elderly and the medical stuff and if the weather allows us to be much more outside, we can afford much more without putting another stress test to our health care systems. But we have to be patient for some weeks.” Liese insisted that the member states need to co-ordinate much more when it comes to incoming flights from areas with a high incidence of coronavirus mutants like South Africa and Brazil. Every traveller from these countries should be under strong quarantine and unnecessary flights should be avoided completely. Unfortunately, also border controls inside the European Union are necessary. In Czech Republic, for example, the incidence is very high. A colleague from Czech Republic who is not from EPP, literally said: ‘Babiš messed it up.’ That’s why it’s understandable that neighbour countries react with strict border controls. In this case, I cannot defend the position of the European Commission,” said the doctor and MEP.

To speed up the vaccination further, Peter Liese recommended to:
"Firstly, the manufacturing companies, the European Medicines Agency, the Commission and the member states must create as quickly as possible the necessary framework to use seven doses from one vial of BioNTech vaccine with legal certainty. The same applies to the eleventh dose of the Moderna vaccine. I appeal to all parties involved not to play a blame game, but to finally take action.  

Secondly, the Commission and Novovax should conclude a contract for supplies as soon as possible.

Thirdly, we must already adapt the vaccines to the mutations and, if necessary, be prepared for follow-up vaccinations in a few months. A vaccination alliance with the U.S. is very important. With mRNA technology, the EU and the U.S. hold the key to long-term pandemic control. Abolishing patents is not the right way to go because without patent protection we probably wouldn't have highly effective vaccines now. We still need the innovative power of these companies to fight cancer, for example. In addition, the mRNA technology is so complicated that even if the patents were released, it would not be easy to replicate. That's why the U.S. and the EU need to invest money and motivate companies to share the technology with manufacturers in third countries like India and South Africa. Only when all people have been vaccinated with highly effective vaccines adapted to the mutations, the pandemic will be over," Liese concludes.

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