Meeting of health ministers, “we need a coordinated response to Omicron” – Europe

“The intensity of infections following the Omicron variant reminds us that the health crisis is unpredictable and requires constant attention. The crisis continues to have a strong impact on the economic and social life of the Member States and leads us to constantly reassess the parameters for managing this crisis.. This situation requires a coordinated response from Member States more than ever. “This is what is said in the final communiqué of the extraordinary meeting of EU health ministers, convened by the French presidency. During the meeting, there was “convergence on greater coordination of national strategies”.

During the meeting, held by videoconference, some points of “convergence” were noted: “intensify the effort to increase primary vaccination coverage (single-dose vaccine or 2-dose vaccine) and increase booster doses; continue to share information between countries on data useful for the effective deployment of the recall campaign in the event of administration of a fourth dose; mobilize all the instruments put in place by the European Union, such as the European policy of joint purchase of vaccines and medicines against Covid, in the light of the latest available data: intensify the international solidarity of the European Union. The means available must guarantee that the administration of a fourth dose is not done to the detriment of the European policy of vaccination solidarity”.

“Our constant coordination over the past two years it was one of the cornerstones of our successful response to the pandemic. Fragmentation and divergent messaging between us increases uncertainty, weakens trust in vaccination, and reduces the sense of acceptance of public health measures and the recommendations we make to citizens.” European Commissioner Stella Kyriakides speaking at the extraordinary meeting.

Important discussion with EU health ministers for a common response to Covid. The science is clear on the next steps for citizens to take: increase the spread of vaccination and provide an additional booster, especially for the most vulnerable,” he wrote in a tweet. Stella Kyriakides while the extraordinary meeting of the 27 European ministers begins.

On the table the Omicron variant, “which represents a strong risk of destabilization for the economic and social life of the Member States”, explains the French presidency. The adaptation of vaccines, the implementation of the fourth dose and the topic of “convergence of national strategies” are the other topics of the meeting.

At the fourth dose “scientific evidence must be our starting point. If the conclusive ‘ongoing research’ data includes the fourth dose, we must be ready to act,” Kyriakides added at the meeting. What should not be forgotten, in acting urgently, is that “There are millions of Europeans who are not vaccinated. On this, we must focus our energies now” and “we must increase our level of collective immunization to three doses”, continued Kyriakides. And the commissioner, regarding the adaptation of vaccines to Omicron, recalled that “contracts with our suppliers also guarantee us the next generations of vaccines. I appeal to you to be ready, to make decisions quickly and to place orders as soon as the pharmaceutical companies will inform you that they have adapted the vaccines. Ema is ready to evaluate the data in order to quickly obtain a possible authorization”.

During the daily briefing, spokespersons for the European Commission stressed: “Finland has decided to reduce its restrictions” on entering the country, “we welcome this and hope that we will have other decisions soon” in the same direction on the part of the member countries. “At the moment we are in a situation where Omicron is everywhere in Europe, experts and Ecdc tell us that measures to save time are less effective. This is why we encourage countries to return to a more coordinated approach”, explain from the Palazzo Berlaymont. Responding to a series of questions on the jungle of measures currently recorded in Europe, the spokesperson for the European executive, Eric Mamer, recalls how the Commission’s recommendations aim to “facilitate free movement” in the Union . However, Mamer points out, “what happens in a member state is the responsibility of the state. They can decide whether or not they can access a place with the Green Pass. “

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