The EU in the race for a Covid-19 vaccine

The EU Commission is considering purchasing 80 million doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine from the US company Moderna. The active substance is one of eight that have reached the clinical trial phase. The Commission has already secured millions of vaccine doses from other companies. Where is the race for a vaccine leading us?

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Le Monde (FR) /

The Commission is on the right track

Le Monde is delighted to see the EU's united stance on this matter:

“The Commission has reached agreements on behalf of the 27 with five pharmaceutical companies to ensure that all EU countries can be supplied quickly and in sufficient quantities as soon as a vaccine is found to be effective. ... As several vaccines are in phase III clinical trials, the final phase before commercialisation, this could happen in the next few months. The European approach is unified, cleverer and more respectful of procedures. A frantic race for a vaccine could certainly bring some political satisfaction to the country that wins it. However, the benefit will be short-lived if it is achieved by cutting corners and at the expense of its citizens' health.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Safety cannot be the sole criterion

The rules should be bent a little in the fight against Covid, Der Standard argues:

“The authorities in Europe should be a little bolder than usual when it comes to approving a coronavirus vaccination and consider not just safety, but also the urgent need for this drug, especially in the case of critical groups such as health workers. At which point a drug can actually be used on a large scale always entails a weighing up of pros and cons. There is no such thing as one hundred percent safety. Ultimately, the race for a vaccine is decided less at the development or approval stage than at the production stage. As soon as an active ingredient has been approved, billions of doses would have to be produced and distributed within a short time. This is only possible if the appropriate production facilities are available.”

Financial Times (GB) /

Rushed approval would fuel vaccine scepticism

People will only let themselves be vaccinated if they feel that it's safe to do so, counters the Financial Times:

“While mass inoculation has done far more good than harm, there are instances of vaccines for diseases such as polio and swine flu being rushed out, only for pernicious side effects to emerge later. Reassuring those who are undecided in the face of online groups spreading disinformation will take time and effort. Even those now willing to take a vaccine may change their mind if senior figures at the FDA resign in protest at the rushing out of a vaccine - as Peter Marks, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, has threatened to do.”

Novi list (HR) /

Maturity test for society

Even if the vaccine offers the possibility of salvation we must continue to act responsibly, Novi list warns:

“The state of our societies when the vaccine becomes available will say a lot about these societies. It will become a yardstick for our degree of civilisation and our ability to avoid endangering others through our behaviour. ... All this will be decided locally. In shops, on trams, on buses, in cafés and nightclubs ... It is a kind of sociological experiment. It will reveal the quality of different societies. Their level of responsibility, mutual trust and solidarity.”