Vaccine row: EU solidarity 'benefits everyone' says Beaune
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Speaking to Radio J, the French European Affairs Minister claimed solidarity among member states had been the number one success of the European Union during the pandemic. He said: “In the European model to face the crisis, there are two things that have been done very well.
“Solidarity: nowhere else in the world people and businesses have received so much help.
“And democracy: the democratic debate was more difficult to keep, but it has been maintained. Our assemblies have continued, sometimes in a virtual way, sometimes in a hybrid way, but always there, to vote the laws, to control the government, and the European Parliament too.
“Sessions have not been cancelled, only the physical meetings, but with votes and virtual meetings on Brexit, on the health certificate.
“Our public debate continued in France and in Europe. European democracy has continued.
“What I regret is that for months we have not been able to return to Strasbourg, the official seat of the European Parliament.”
His comments, which ignored the many issues plaguing the bloc’s rollout, were promptly lambasted by French listeners on Twitter.
One person said: “Fortunately, there is our friend Beaune for the daily comical minute, it lifts morale.”
Another said: “100,000 deaths by the incompetence of this government.
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“You will have to go to court once the crisis is behind us The people will go and get you if necessary.
“You manage to sleep at night MONSIEUR I KNOW EVERYTHING?”
Another user added: “FALSE! The democratic debate has been completely obscured except for secondary questions.
“All the decisions of containment, curfews, closings of shops, etc., were concealed at AN and decided alone by people not elected as at EU.”
It comes as Europe’s choppy vaccine rollout hit more trouble this week after Johnson & Johnson (J&J) suspended shipments of its COVID-19 shot and Denmark said it would drop a similar vaccine from AstraZeneca over very rare cases of blood clotting.
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In many European countries, AstraZeneca’s shot has been limited to the elderly as the side effect in question, clotting in the brain, has primarily been seen in young and middle-aged vaccine recipients.
German biotech firm CureVac said it has seen the number of requests for its experimental COVID-19 vaccine increase over the past few days, as concerns over rare side effects have hit some other coronavirus shots.
A CureVac spokesman said on Thursday requests have been coming in from various quarters, including governments and international organisations, but he declined to elaborate.
The European Union in November secured up to 405 million doses of CureVac’s two-shot vaccine, which has yet to win regulatory approval, the company’s only large supply contract so far.
CureVac said it would start testing its COVID-19 vaccine on adolescents as young as 12 at the end of the month, as it gets ready to publish initial efficacy results for adults in the second quarter.
The spokesman reiterated the group – which is backed by investors Dietmar Hopp, the Gates Foundation, GlaxoSmithKline as well as the German government – hoped to file for regulatory approval at the end of May or early June.
CureVac said it would initially enrol about 40 adolescents aged 12 to 17 in Peru and Panama, the first stage of a broader study in this age group.
Its ongoing pivotal Phase 2b/3 study known as Herald, and initiated in December, has completed recruitment with over 40,000 adult participants in Europe and Latin America, the company said on Thursday.
Nasdaq-listed CureVac repeated it aims to produce up to 300 million doses of the vaccine in 2021 and up to 1 billion in 2022.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega
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