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McGuinness calls for 'calm' over EU coronavirus vaccine row

EU Commissioner Mairead McGuinness has said that countries around the world were unprepared for t...
Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

10.54 21 Mar 2021


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McGuinness calls for 'calm' ov...

McGuinness calls for 'calm' over EU coronavirus vaccine row

Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

10.54 21 Mar 2021


Share this article


EU Commissioner Mairead McGuinness has said that countries around the world were unprepared for the COVID-19 pandemic and called for calm over the issue of vaccine supply.

The Commissioner for Financial Services and Financial Stability also denied that the bloc is engaging in vaccine nationalism.

It comes after Commission President Ursula von der Leyen threatened to block exports of AstraZeneca's inoculation if its European commitments aren't met.

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EU leaders are due to meet in the coming week to discuss if action should be taken to address shortfalls in the delivery of doses.

In an interview on the BBC's Andrew Marr programme, Commissioner McGuinness said that all sides need to "calm down" over the COVID-19 vaccine row.

"Frankly, none of us has had a great COVID," she said.

"We should all put our hands up and say we were not prepared for this pandemic, we did not do our best at the beginning but we are doing our best now to protect our citizens."

That's what Europe is focusing on because "once everyone is protected, we are safe", she added.

"I think we all need to, if you like, calm down and look very dispassionately at the situation around the raw materials for vaccines, where they're produced, so we might ramp up that production," she said.

She added that people raising questions about the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine among people over-65 are fighting a battle they don't need to because the European Medicines Agency said this week "with great clarity" that the jab is safe and effective.

"Of course, we in the Commission are not responsible for how Member States roll out vaccines, that is the responsibility of Member States," she said.

Commissioner McGuinness then cited Ireland and the fact that the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine recommenced yesterday.

"I think in all the minutiae of conversations we're forgetting the big picture here," she stated.

"That the world has literally stopped turning. And all the things we took for granted as citizens like a meal out, summer holidays, seeing family have been destroyed because of an invisible virus. And we were not ready for it, and I say that globally as opposed to Europe.

"We have learnt the hard lessons. We need to invest in public health, pharmaceutical supply chains."

Main image: Mairead McGuinness in the European Parliament. Credit: @MaireadMcGMEP on Twitter

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AstraZeneca Coroanvirus Covid-19 EU Commissioner Eu Vaccine Supply Mairead McGuinness

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