The World Health Organization may soon recommend the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine for emergency use. Could the decision change the European Union’s approach to oriental vaccines?
I think that the decision may make it clear that reality goes beyond what is going on in Brussels. It is a fatal mistake to make vaccines an ideological issue. Normality is paralyzed throughout the European Union, so there needs to be only one consideration for policymakers: whether the vaccine is effective and safe. Political disputes and ideological disagreements with the producing state were now secondary. In a globalized world, certain vaccines cannot be discriminated against for ideological reasons. In the event that the World Health Organization added Sinopharm to the list of recommended vaccinations, I would be curious to know what action is being taken in Brussels.
Wouldn’t the WHO be considered a professional organization anymore? Perhaps the bureaucrats in Brussels say they are more experienced than the WHO staff?
The current EU approach to vaccine procurement and licensing is unsustainable.
– The European Commission meanwhile announced that it will take legal action against AstraZeneca with member states. How meaningful is the lawsuit when less than a third of the European Union population have been vaccinated?
– If the pharmaceutical company breached the contract, of course, the lawsuit is reasonable. However, this development also proves that there have been serious mistakes in the European Commission’s purchase of vaccines. It suffices to look at the facts: in terms of vaccination rates in the European Union, they do not even follow the data of the United States, Israel or even Serbia. On the other hand, Hungary has achieved remarkable results, with the percentage of people currently vaccinated in Hungary about twice the European Union average. We were able to achieve all this because we not only counted on the amount of vaccine that the committee purchased, but also purchased vaccines from the East in parallel. There have been problems with vaccine decades in the past anyway, and not just with AstraZeneca. It was also unclear which company was meeting the deadlines, so the targets remained under review in Brussels. As for eastern vaccines, the EU bureaucracy has been hesitant. The European Union had to take an active and proactive approach to its Russian and Chinese partners.
The vaccination campaign has been going on for nearly four months, yet the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is now only present to conduct a field visit to Russia.
Unfortunately, the European Union missed an opportunity, where a successful vaccine could have proven to people that it makes sense for many organizations, that a Brussels bubble exist.
Angela Merkel, on the other hand, paints a bad picture for European unity if a member state uses an Eastern vaccine without an EMA license.
The German Chancellor is not right, because the EMA is not a higher body than the national authorities. The vaccine can be marketed in European Union countries if it is approved by the EMA or if national authorities give a green flag for the vaccine in an emergency procedure. Therefore, Hungary has acted in accordance with current legislation when licensing oriental vaccines. I think it is pointless to mention titles of European solidarity and unity in Western Europe: it is not solidarity to stand behind a stunningly flawed decision. Putting a good example, helping each other in trouble – this is European solidarity, which Hungary also fully represents. Otherwise, we have roughly the same debate about immigration. Here, too, solidarity does not mean that all member states bear important unfinished consequences, in this case the lack of effective border protection.
On the issue of vaccines, too, it is a false statement that all European Union countries should have been powerless because so many bad decisions were taken in Brussels.
On this basis, supporters of a federal Europe argue that the European Union was not able to act in the absence of the authorities, so it should be granted powers in the field of health. Do you have the confidence to do this?
A: No, this idea is completely illogical. Both the European Commission and the European Medicines Agency have been mandated to obtain and approve the largest number of vaccines possible. It appears they failed to complete the mission. I think centralization cannot be the solution in this case. And the Health Union plan is not a clear idea anyway, at the moment we hear only slogans. An obvious condition for the transfer of health competencies must be that it serves the interests of those who live in Member States. This story is not here now.
The issue of green cards has been discussed by the European Union Parliament under an accelerated procedure. Eastern vaccine carriers are planned to be protected by member states. How strong is this guarantee for Hungarians vaccinated with Russian or Chinese vaccines?
There is no final decision on this matter yet, and the European Parliament and the Council will reach their final position soon. It is clear to me that as much energy as possible should be devoted to purchasing vaccines, and only then would it make sense to discuss the facilities that should be made available to those who have been vaccinated. The European Union is not a unique player in global politics. It also welcomes fans from all over the world through its trade ties and tourism. The Chinese and Russian vaccines have been received by millions outside the European Union. It is therefore also in Europe’s interest that the decision on green cards not be a closed stance. Not to mention that
The freedom of movement of people is one of the basic freedoms of Europeans.
Reports so far indicate that countries that depend on tourism, such as Greece, do not even think about distinguishing between effective vaccines.
Photo: MTI / Koszticsák Szilárd
The Hungarian nation