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The clash between the EU and AstraZeneca over delayed vaccines has revealed a stack of questionable contracts signed with Big Pharma. Problems include manufacturers’ ambiguous delivery dates, but lawyers investigating the deals show that companies have a clear advantage over the EU.
Several global surveys suggest that after initial enthusiasm, vaccination uptake of coronavirus vaccines has fallen sharply. However, with the increased availability of vaccines this spring, people's appetite to take the Covid vaccine has returned, although Europeans’ willingness to take it is still below the level of other vaccines.
In many European countries, the availability of psychological treatment in the public healthcare system is inadequate or even non-existent. Barriers such as long waiting lists, co-payments and inadequate resources push people with anxiety or depression – those who can afford it – to the private system.
Mental health resources in the European Union were scarce even before the pandemic. COVID-19 has caused a tsunami in mental health, and access to care is more difficult today. About 75 percent of psychiatry services in the EU have been taking place via telemedicine, but this is not a viable option for all patients.
A Eurofound report reveals that despite being provided with the necessary tools and supported remotely by teachers, most parents and legal guardians of children in primary and secondary schools are dissatisfied with distance learning.
Eurostat data from 2019 show that in Europe, on average, 32 percent of workers employed in the Cultural and Creative Industry were self-employed. In some countries this percentage reaches almost 50%. The EU is pumping money into the CCI, but that won't be enough for a sector that structurally hinges on precarious working relationships.
Due to COVID-19, the economic losses of the European Cultural and Creative Industry (CCI) businesses will add up to billions of Euros. The EU stepped in with a top-up of its flagship Creative Europe programme. But pumping more money into the system won’t do. In many EU countries, the crisis has highlighted structural inequalities within the sector. And workers have started to mobilise.
The European recovery plan is in a bad state. Already criticized for its slow implementation, the European Union now faces another issue with Germany, as the German Constitutional Court suspended on March 25 the ratification process of the "Next generation EU" plan at the national level.
Pharmaceutical giants producing COVID-19 vaccines are open to collaboration with third parties, as long as they retain control on vaccine licenses and profits. EU member states complain about supply shortages, but fail to question the power of Big Pharma.
The European Union shifts between defending citizens’ health and defending pharmaceutical industry monopoly by opposing the liberalization of vaccine production. This might only delay achieving the immunisation necessary for economic recovery. We delve into this issue in a three-part investigation.