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10 Feb, 2021 09:50

Mainstream media have been irresponsible throughout the coronavirus pandemic – Oxford’s Dr. Alberto Giubilini (E975)

We speak to Dr. Alberto Giubilini, senior research fellow at Oxford University’s Collective Responsibility for Infectious Disease Program. He discusses why it is a moral imperative for governments to approve and roll out Covid-19 vaccines as fast as possible – and for people to take them – why people should still take the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to protect themselves from the South African coronavirus variant, irresponsibility and alarmism by the mainstream media throughout the pandemic, the reasons for the mistrust of governments, health officials, vaccines and much more! Finally, we speak to Dr. James Trafford, author of ‘The Empire at Home: Internal Colonies and the End of Britain’, on Britain’s relationship with its colonial past. He discusses Britain’s ongoing nostalgia for its imperial past and the problems it has caused in modern society, the coronavirus vaccine and the government’s imperial-era framing of the crisis, how racism in Britain today roots back to the racist colonisation during the British Empire, the colonial-style management of Britain at home and much more!

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We contacted the European Commission about the allegations made in part 1 and they sent us this information: 

On the alleged slowness of our approach

 

·         Normally, it takes 10 years to develop a vaccine. For the coronavirus vaccine, it took 10 months, partly because the Commission and others invested heavily in research and production capacity right from the start of the pandemic.

·         The Commission backed many of the right companies, those that are now internationally successful with COVID-19 vaccines are also under contract with us.

·         Had we not made this pre-investment, we would not today have any of these production possibilities.

·         The Commission secured contracts for a total of 2.3 billion doses, more than enough vaccines to cover the entire EU population, at better conditions and price than had Member States negotiated individually. 

·         It is important to note that at the start of the EU Vaccines Strategy, we invited leading Member State experts to exchange views as to the leading vaccine candidates from a scientific and clinical expertise point of view. 

·         This resulted in a broad and diverse portfolio of candidates with different technologies to maximise chances of finding several successful vaccines.

·         The Commission negotiated with all the vaccine producers at the same time. If it took longer to conclude

·          certain contracts than others, this may be related to specific reason depending on the company, such as their understanding of the European system and EU law, for example liability and indemnification. 

·         Nevertheless, delivery schedules as well as prices were fixed in the summer, and the time taken to finalise the contract had no impact on the delivery schedules offered. 

·         We cannot conclude contracts that do not stand scrutiny under Union law and has to have assurances that all obligations by the contractor can be adhered to.

·         The conclusion of contracts with any company needed to result in a contract satisfactory to both sides.

 

On the EMA approval process, I invite you to check out our Q&As on: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/QANDA_20_2390

 

On COVAX

 

·         Global cooperation and solidarity is crucial to effectively fight the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure global and equitable access to vaccines, tests and treatments, and to start a sustainable global recovery. The EU is fully playing its part and has been leading the multilateral response.

·         COVAX, that is expected to start deliveries of vaccines for health workers in low and middle income countries in the next weeks, is the best vehicle for delivering on international vaccine solidarity. To date, Team Europe has announced over €850 million for the COVAX Facility to help secure 1.3 billion doses of vaccination for 92 low and middle-income countries by the end of the year and support efforts to make COVID-19 vaccines a global public good. 

·         In parallel, the Commission is working on setting up an EU mechanism to facilitate the reselling or donation of vaccines, procured by EU member states through the EU’s advanced purchase agreements, to other countries. 

·         We are advancing discussions with the WHO and Gavi, as well as producers to allow EU Member States to share some of their initial doses as soon as possible.

·         Sharing vaccines with partners is not only about international solidarity but also in the EU’s own interest, to help break the vicious circle of new mutations and finally reduce the health risk for all.

·         Through the vaccine sharing mechanism, we will help priority groups in the Western Balkans and Neighbourhood countries as well as health professionals in low-income countries, in particular in Africa, and most vulnerable populations in humanitarian settings to get early access to vaccines.

·         Furthermore, the EU continues to support health-system strengthening and universal health coverage in partner countries to ensure preparedness for the roll-out of vaccines.

 

On trade aspects, we refer to today’s speech of President von der Leyen:

 

“We fully understand that difficulties will arise in the mass production of vaccines. But Europe has invested billions of euros in capacities, in advance. And we urged the Member States to plan their vaccine roll-out. 

So know we all need predictability.

And this is why we introduced the export transparency and authorisation mechanism. To be very clear: We do not intend to restrict companies that are honouring their contracts with the European Union. And there is an automatic exemption for exports to the EEA countries, for the Western Balkans and the rest of our neighbourhood, for humanitarian needs, and for the 92 low- and middle-income countries covered by COVAX. So Europe is always ready to help. But we insist on our fair share.

And as far as the mechanism goes, allow me a word on the island of Ireland. The bottom line is that mistakes were made in the process leading up to the decision. And I deeply regret that. But in the end, we got it right. And I can reassure you that my Commission will do its utmost to protect the peace in Northern Ireland. Just as it has done throughout the entire Brexit process.”

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