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Rik Daems: 'part of the European recovery fund must be allocated to a common vaccination programme'

PACE President Rik Daems has appealed to European governments, currently negotiating a 750 billion euro recovery fund in the context of Europe's pandemic crisis, to dedicate part of it to a common vaccination programme.

"Such a recovery plan must include a joint vaccination programme, co-ordinated by European governments and with clear funding. We will only defeat the virus when there is a vaccine that can be administered as part of an appropriate and duly funded action plan. Otherwise, we risk throwing money out of the window."

Last week, Rik Daems met with the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who expressed his concern at the complacency of governments dealing with the pandemic and the urgent need for European states to have a co-ordinated vaccination plan.

"Working closely with the WHO's European arm, we need to create a vaccination plan for the period 2020-2025 on a purely scientific basis, leaving aside internal quarrels and sterile political debates," Mr Daems added.

In the absence of an available vaccine, “we must do everything we can to avoid a second lockdown. The compulsory wearing of masks in public spaces is an essential element in this process, as are track-and-trace applications. Even if such a device is likely to undermine privacy and must therefore be closely monitored, it is the principle of trust which must take precedence both in the use of the application and in the processing of data,” he added.

“While we wait for a vaccine, such tracking applications must have sufficient public support to be really effective. The Council of Europe quality label is a great way to strengthen this support and therefore contribute to the success of these apps, which in turn allows us to stop fresh outbreaks of the virus,” concluded the President.