The Czech Ministry of Health is resorting to drastic measures to make
The Czech Ministry of Health is resorting to drastic measures to make
Youtube blocked the Russian state-backed broadcaster RT's German-language channels on Wednesday on the grounds that they were spreading misinformation. Videos that try to turn opinion against officially approved vaccines will also be consistently deleted, the tech giant announced. Commentators say the Google subsidiary is making things too easy for itself.
Despite all the
Although Europe has plenty of Covid vaccines, demand for them is dropping. Vaccination rates are stagnating and politicians are upping the pressure on those who haven't yet been vaccinated. Although the vaccinated can still infect others with the virus, they are almost completely exempt from testing, while the unvaccinated are forced to fork out for tests - as of Wednesday a negative test will be required even at filling stations in Slovenia.
For schoolchildren in some countries another school year overshadowed by Covid is starting. European societies are arguing about how to best protect themselves from a new wave of the pandemic. Compulsory vaccination for teachers and vaccines for teenagers are among the measures under discussion. One thing all commentators agree on is that children should not have to pay for the freedom of adults.
The US companies Moderna and Pfizer, which produces Biontech's Covid vaccine Comirnaty, have raised the prices of their mRNA vaccines in negotiations with the EU, according to a report in the Financial Times. The cost of a dose of Comirnaty has risen from 15.50 euros to 19.50 euros, and Moderna's Spikevax now costs 21.50 euros instead of 19 euros. An unfavourable development in every respect, commentators conclude.
Countries in Europe now have some of the highest vaccination rates in the world. But the pace is slowing down in many areas, with people not turning up for their vaccination appointments. The summer weather and low infection rates are making people hesitate even if they are not anti-vaxxers. Governments are trying to counter this, with some resorting to drastic measures. The media response is either approving or indignant.
Young people in Greece will now receive pre-paid cards worth 150 euros after their first covid jab. The cards can be used to pay for ferry tickets, accommodation, or tickets to concerts and museums, for example. The programme is directed towards roughly 940,000 people between 18 and 25, and the government has budgeted 141 million euros. It aims to reach a vaccination rate of just under 60 percent by the end of July.
At the end of May, the Comirnaty vaccine from Biontech/Pfizer became the first Covid vaccine to be approved for use in children aged twelve and over. Now Moderna has also already applied for EU approval of its vaccine for the youngest age group. The prospect of widespread vaccination of children against Covid has sparked a
Slovakia has become the second EU country after Hungary to start vaccinating with the Russian vaccine Sputnik V, which has not yet been approved in the EU. At the end of February, Igor Matovič, then prime minister, ordered 200,000 doses in Moscow - a move that ultimately
Policymakers in Europe are facing a new problem: not everyone who has the option to get vaccinated
Documents known as Safepasses are being introduced in Cyprus this week which give vaccinated citizens access to diverse venues and facilities in the coming weeks. The certificates provide confirmation that the carrier has either recovered from Covid, been vaccinated with at least one dose or tested negative on a rapid test in the past 72 hours. The Cyprus Bar Association has called the decision to introduce the documents unconstitutional. The country's media are also critical of the move.
The ambulance service in the Estonian capital of Tallinn has given its employees an ultimatum: those who haven't been vaccinated by the middle of May will have their contracts terminated. A member of staff contacted the media to report the new policy. Estonia's press discusses whether mandatory vaccination is justified.
US President Joe Biden has triggered a global debate with his proposal to temporarily lift patent protection for Covid-19 vaccines. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has indicated that the EU is ready to discuss the proposal, but stressed that allowing exports was the key measure for the time being. Europe's commentators also discuss how vaccines can best be distributed fairly.
Poland's bishops have voiced "serious moral concerns" about the coronavirus vaccines produced by Astrazeneca and Johnson & Johnson. Catholics should refuse vaccination with these substances because foetal cells are used in their production, Józef Wróbel, the chairman of the bioethics team of experts at the Polish Bishops' Conference, said on Wednesday. The national press takes the bishops to task.
Because rich countries have secured most of the scarce supplies of Covid vaccines there are still countries that have not received a single dose - despite the Covax aid programme. While China and Russia have sold their vaccines internationally from the outset, and partly given them away, the EU has so far refused to make donations to developing countries. Commentators say that even if did, this wouldn't do much to decrease global disparities.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has completed its
In mid-January the EU Commission announced ambitious goals according to which at least 80 percent of people aged over 80, as well as of those working in health and social professions, were to be vaccinated by March. However, by the end of March just under 60 percent of people over the age of 80 had received the first dose across the EU. Many are pinning the blame on the bloc's unwieldy bureaucracy, but is this justified?
The front runners are
The German government has proposed the launch of preliminary negotiations for the EU to purchase the Russian coronavirus vaccine. Although
Faced with continuing Covid vaccine shortages in the EU, Ursula von der Leyen has threatened to impose export bans. According to Brussels, at least 41 million doses have been exported from the EU since February, ten million of which went to the UK. Meanwhile British-Swedish manufacturer Astrazeneca has only delivered 30 percent of the agreed vaccine doses to the EU in the first quarter, EU sources say. Europe's press discusses the pros and cons of
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has given the green light for continued use of the Astrazeneca vaccine. It had launched a review after various EU countries
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented the
The government in Slovakia is in danger of collapsing after Prime Minister Igor Matovič
Sweden has joined the growing list of EU countries that have temporarily suspended Astrazeneca vaccinations. The European Medicines Agency is due to announce on Thursday whether its findings indicate that there is a connection between the jab and rare cases of cerebral blood clots. Europe's press is at odds over whether suspending the jabs makes sense - and points to a dilemma.
First came criticism of the EU's
Italy is to become the first EU country to produce the Russian coronavirus vaccine
After giving Sputnik V early official
Almost two months after their launch, the vaccination campaigns in Europe are still making slower progress than
The Bulgarian government has discarded its previous vaccination plan to prioritise certain groups and is now giving everyone access to the vaccines with immediate effect. The campaign was slow getting off the ground with just 120,000 doses administered since December. But thirty thousand Astrazeneca jabs were administered last weekend. Is this a major success in the face of widespread scepticism?
With over four million infections and more than 117,000 deaths, Britain is one of the countries most severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic in Europe, and its
In Latvia, a new website called manavakcina.lv. was launched on the weekend where anyone who wants to can register for vaccination against Covid-19. As of Tuesday, 62,000 people had registered. Vaccinations have got off to a very slow start in the country, with only around 18,000 of its nearly two million inhabitants having been received the jab so far. The country's press doesn't believe the new website will improve the situation.
Even after the
While the EU is at loggerheads
In most European countries coronavirus vaccination programmes are now in full swing - as far as supplies allow. Priority is mostly being given to the elderly, nursing home residents and system-relevant occupational groups - with slight variations from country to country. But almost everywhere there have been cases of people in privileged positions flouting the rules to get vaccinated quicker. Commentators vent their fury.
Italy has blocked the shipment of 250,000 doses of the Anglo-Swedish Astrazeneca vaccine to Australia in the first intervention since the EU introduced rules on exports of vaccines outside the bloc in January according to which vaccines can only be shipped with official approval. Is the EU in a
Tensions eased in the row between the EU and Astrazeneca over the weekend. The vaccine manufacturer announced that it would deliver several million more doses to the EU by the end of March, albeit only half of the amount originally promised. Commentators lambaste the EU's performance in this crucial matter.
Criticism of the sluggish progress of the EU-wide
EU leaders backed the European Commission's vaccination targets at their summit on Thursday: the goal is to
Following the conditional approval for the
The UK began vaccinating its citizens against the coronavirus on Tuesday. Ninety-year-old Margaret Keenan was the first person to receive the vaccine produced by Biontech and Pfizer. She called on her fellow citizens to also take part in the largest vaccination programme in the country's history. European media share their views on the pioneering role of the Brexit nation.
The European Medicines Agency is due to reach a decision on approving the Biontech/Pfizer vaccine today. Once the agency has given the green light, the necessary approval by the EU Commission is considered certain and an EU-wide vaccination campaign could start before the end of the year. Commentators ask what Europe has learned on the long road to vaccine approval.
The UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has approved the Covid-19
While press voices are criticising the
Reports from pharmaceutical companies about the
After Biontech and Pfizer announced a breakthrough in coronavirus vaccine development, closely followed by the US company Moderna, hopes that the pandemic can be beaten through widespread immunization are growing. While some commentators find it hard to control their excitement, others point to the major obstacles ahead and see grounds for scepticism.
Research into a coronavirus vaccine is being conducted at
The pharmaceutical company Astra Zeneca has suspended a clinical trial of a Covid-19 vaccine after one of the participants came down with an unexplained illness. An independent party is investigating whether the illness is related to the serum, the company reported. Europe's commentators see this cautious approach as a good sign rather than a disappointment.
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?
Russia has become the first country to approve a vaccine against the coronavirus for general use. Sputnik V is effective and offers sustainable immunity, Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin announced on Tuesday. However, scientific data on the vaccine has yet to be released. Journalists warn against premature rejoicing, pointing to health and other risks.
The CEO of French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, Paul Hudson, caused indignation by saying that if the company succeeds in creating an effective