Wednesday 10/28/20
TARGET GROUPS

EU Commission urges states to prepare for coronavirus vaccine

The number of treatments for each country would at first be limited, the governments should therefore identify which part of the population would receive the vaccine first.

HANDOUT - 15 October 2020, Belgium, Brussels: European Parliament President David Sassoli (L) greets European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (C) and Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel (R) as they arrive for a two days European Council summit focusing on Brexit negotiations. Photo: Dario Pignatelli/European Council.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (C) in Brussels. Photo: Dario Pignatelli/European Council.

The European Commission on Thursday recommended EU countries identify target groups to be inoculated once a coronavirus vaccine becomes available and prepare for its delivery.

"We propose a common approach to decide who is to be vaccinated first. This is also important in terms of fairness for our citizens across the EU," commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas said.

As several potential vaccines require two doses per person, the number of treatments for each EU country would at first be limited, the commission said on Thursday.

The governments should therefore identify which part of the population would receive the vaccine first.

Possible target groups, according to the commission, could include those working in health care and so-called "essential workers" outside the health sector, as well as people above 60 and those vulnerable due to chronic diseases and underlying conditions.

Other groups that are unable to physically distance could also be included as target groups, for example prisoners and people living in refugee camps or workers in slaughterhouses.

Vaccines for free

Multiple countries have seen mass coronavirus outbreaks in slaughterhouses over the past months.

EU countries should also consider making the vaccines available for free, the commission said.

Another important part of the preparation was ensuring the vaccine's delivery, the commission said. "We all need dedicated infrastructure, trained staff, necessary equipment and logistics," Schinas said.

Some of the vaccines have to be transported at very low temperatures, some at minus 70 degrees Celsius. The countries were recommended to guarantee cold chains and cool transport options.

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