In the debate on the European Summit of 10-11 December, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen updated MEPs that the first European citizens might have vaccinations before the end of December.
Ursula von der Leyen urged European citizens to continue respecting restrictions, even as the measures harm businesses, further damage Coronavirus-ravaged economies and put people through social and mental hardship.
Relaxing measures too quickly could create “a risk of a third wave after Christmas,” she warned.
This is especially the case as the pandemic situation remains serious. With nearly 3,000 deaths a day COVID-19 was the number 1 cause of death in the EU last week. Hospitals remain under stress, and in some regions intensive care units are overwhelmed. I know that shop owners, bartenders and waiters in restaurants want an end to restrictions. But we must learn from the summer and not repeat the same mistakes. Relaxing too fast and too much risks a third wave after Christmas. Weeks ago, I said that this Christmas will be different. And yes, it will be quieter. This is also a question of solidarity between Member States.
But there is also good news. The European Commission by now has secured contracts with six companies. The first European citizens might already be vaccinated before the end of December. There is finally light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccines are important, but what counts are vaccinations. Member States must get ready now. We are talking about millions of syringes and the cold chain, the organisation of vaccination centres, training of personnel, you name it. In short: Member States have to prepare the logistics for the eventual deployment of hundreds of millions of doses. Because this is our ticket out of this pandemic.