Europe – COVID-19 and vaccines: Equitable access to vaccination must be ensured

How can we ensure equitable access to vaccination during the current and future pandemics? The Council of Europe Committee on Bioethics has made today a number of recommendations.

First, strategies should be put in place to avoid generating discrimination due to material aspects, such as logistical and administrative barriers, fees for vaccination and risks of manipulations of the system. These strategies should be adapted to the needs of persons who are systematically disadvantaged in accessing health care.

The Committee also underlines the importance of strengthening transparency, information and communication as tools for building trust and ensuring that every person for whom the vaccine is recommended is provided with a fair opportunity to access vaccination.

Finally, an appropriate level of safety and effectiveness of vaccines is required to ensure quality in vaccination. The European Pharmacopoeia (EDQM) defines international quality standards for vaccines. In line with the Council of Europe MEDICRIME Convention, member states should also prevent and combat counterfeit vaccines…