14:59 GMT25 November 2020
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    As Germany and France are preparing for new lockdowns, Europeans were given encouraging news on Wednesday by the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

    European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said that in the best-case-scenario companies could deliver up to 50 million vaccines a month to the members of the European bloc.

    "The big numbers of supplies are due to start in April," von der Leyen said during a news conference on 28 October.    

    ​Effective vaccination is one of the steps in the Commission’s set of actions to limit the spread of coronavirus. Other measures include ramping up well-targeted testing and maintaining access to essential supplies such as vaccination equipment.  

    "The COVID-19 situation is very serious. We must step up our EU response. Today we are launching additional measures in our fight against the virus; from increasing access to fast testing, and preparing vaccination campaigns to facilitating safe travel when necessary. I call on Member States to work closely together. Courageous steps taken now will help save lives and protect livelihoods. No Member State will emerge safely from this pandemic until everyone does," said the EU Commission President in her Wednesday’s address.

    EU countries need to fully develop their national vaccination strategies, an EU Commission statement has advised. The body plans to put in place a common reporting framework and a platform to monitor the effectiveness of national vaccine strategies.

    Details of the first review of national vaccination plans are set to be presented in November 2020.

    On Wednesday, the Commission also announced it is extending the temporary suspension of customs duties and VAT on the import of medical equipment from non-EU countries. The officials also suggested that hospitals and medical practitioners should not have to pay VAT on vaccines and testing kits used in the fight against the coronavirus. 

    Speaking about the rise of Covid-19 infection rates across Europe, Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said that officials will present the first step towards a European Health Union in November.

    The idea of the European Health Union is based on stronger cooperation in the area of and includes “common minimum standards for quality healthcare, based on urgently needed stress tests of member states’ healthcare systems to identify weaknesses and verify that they are prepared for a possible resurgence of COVID-19.” 

    Tags:
    COVID-19, health, European Union, vaccination
    Community standardsDiscussion