We were delighted to launch the EU Health Gov network formally on 26 May 2021 with a Practitioner Perspective by Mr Yannis Natsis of the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) with a health advocacy view on the EU vaccine strategy.
Back in May/June 2020, the Inclusive Vaccine Alliance (France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands) signed an initial contract with AstraZeneca. This preceded EU-level involvement in contracts with pharma companies, which was accompanied by questions of competition between the US, European and national markets. One year on, what is needed is an assessment of what went well, and what went wrong in the EU vaccine strategy.
Transparency was highlighted as a key concern, with a three-pronged solution of publishing contracts with minimum redaction, releasing communications exchanged between the pharma companies and the Commission, and identifying the knowledge and gaps at Commission and Member State levels. The discussion highlighted the risky conflation of public health and industrial policies, the politicisation of the pharmaceutical industry and the relative success and failure of EU leverage. Links were drawn with climate, public health and industrial policy.
EPHA is now raising the profile of vaccine equity, with an approach which calls for strengthening the European Centre for Disease Control (noting the link with the evolving European Health Union) and monitoring equity – which social groups have access to the vaccine.
A recording of the event is available here.