We support closer cooperation at the European Union (EU) level to ensure vaccine accessibility, timely delivery to member states, and increased manufacturing capacity. It is also crucial to ensure that vaccines effective against the new variants of Covid-19 are delivered under the concluded agreements, highlighted the Chair of the European Affairs Committee of the Saeima on Friday, 19 March, following a meeting wherein MPs discussed the position of Latvia for the upcoming emergency European Council meeting.
Additionally, our response to the idea of developing a joint EU digital green vaccination certificate in close cooperation with the World Health Organisation is positive. We must, however, keep in mind that the discussion has just begun, and the member states will have to agree on the best common approach. At the same time, it is important to ensure an uninterrupted single market and free flow of essential goods, including medical supplies, said Tērauda.
Today, Edgars Rinkēvičs, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, informed MPs that a discussion on increasing vaccine production capacity, vaccine delivery and distribution is planned next week at the emergency European Council meeting. A discussion will also be held on the digital green certificate proposed by the European Commission, EU coordination in response to the spread of new variants of Covid-19, as well as on the common approach to gradual lifting of restrictions as soon as the epidemiological situation allows it.
The total amount of guaranteed vaccine doses within the EU is redistributed to the member states on the basis of the size of their population. It is crucial for Latvia that this mechanism is applied to all orders placed under the joint EU procurement. According to the information provided to MPs by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the number of vaccines allocated to Latvia in the first quarter is relatively small (about 257 000 doses), but up to 2.16 million doses may become available in the second quarter.
At the beginning of March this year, the Ministers for Health of the Baltic States sent a joint letter to the EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, emphasising their support for the vaccine distribution mechanism while urging the European Commission to develop a transparent mechanism for temporary redistribution of vaccines among the member states, said Tērauda.
Saeima Press Service