European Union chief warns against relaxing Covid-19 measures

Daniel Fowler
November 26, 2020

Claiming that there's finally light at the end of the tunnel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told EU lawmakers that the first European citizens might already be vaccinated before the end of December.

Last week Moderna said its experimental vaccine was 94.5% effective in preventing COVID-19, based on interim data from a late-stage clinical trial.

The deal with Moderna is the sixth secured by the EU Commission with pharmaceutical companies, allowing its 27 member countries to buy more than one billion doses once the shots are ready. "Once the vaccine is indeed proven as safe and effective, every member state will receive it at the same time on a pro rata basis", Ursula von der Leyen said.

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In the European Union single market, goods and services can freely flow from one of the 27 member states to another without barriers like customs or checks, and it is seen as a cornerstone of the EU. Were talking about millions of syringes, were talking about cold chains, were talking about organizing vaccination centers, were talking about trained personnel that is there.

At Brussels Airport, Koen Gouweloose, the CEO of Swissport Cargo Services, told The Associated Press during a tour of his company's facilities that "what we expect is that there will be a huge volume coming through". We are setting up one of the most comprehensive Covid-19 vaccine portfolios in the world, providing Europeans access to the most promising future vaccines under development so far. "Hospitals remain under stress, and in some regions some intensive care units are overwhelmed", she said.

Von der Leyen made clear that if Poland and Hungary thought the measure was illegal, they should take the matter to the Court of Justice of the European Union - and not hold up much-needed funds in the middle of a pandemic.

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