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Pandemic: CoR signs Action Plan with WHO and warns against territorial vaccine divide  

EU local and regional leaders express concern about the progress of the EU's roll-out of vaccines and ask for more coordination and equal access for all Europeans

The European Committee of the Regions and the World Health Organization (WHO) today signed an Action Plan to improve the resilience of regional and local health systems through joint research and policymaking. The Action Plan, which builds on long-standing cooperation launched in November 2016, also responds to the need to address some key challenges of the pandemic by improving coordination between different levels of health governance. It will allow the joint assessment of health policies' effectiveness on the ground and suggest possible remedies to make regional and local systems more responsive to the pandemic challenges.

In a resolution debated on 4 February #CoRPlenary, EU local an​d regional leaders expressed concern about the progress of the EU's coordinated roll-out of vaccines and asked to develop a European dashboard to monitor vaccine uptake and distribution by region. In particular, they rejected vaccine "nationalism" as running counter to the principles of "solidarity, unity and efficiency" and of "the principles of equal access to vaccines for all EU citizens".

Apostolos Tzitzikostas, the President of the European Committee of the Regions and Governor of the Greek region of Central Macedonia, said: " The Action Plan we are launching today with the WHO will improve health resilience in our regions, cities and villages. If there is one lesson we learnt by the challenges we faced during the pandemic, it is that regional and local governments' role is vital in preparing, responding, managing and recovering from the crisis ."

Commenting on the roll-out of the EU's vaccination campaign, he added: '' Vaccination is key to restart our regional and local economies. We must avoid competition for vaccines between Member States and within Members States. Any 'vaccine divide' that would increase inequalities between our regions, cities and villages is unacceptable; this is why our Committee is asking for a European dashboard that monitors vaccines' availability and distribution at regional level."

Speaking during the debate, Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge, Regional Director for Europe for the World Health Organization, said: "Local governments in the Europe region have been and still are at the forefront of curtailing the pandemic. Cities are epicentres in this emergency, not only in terms of community- and country-wide transmission, but also as points of health care, and travel and trade hubs. Cities are the closest level of government to people. And they are also key to sharing experiences and fighting misinformation, as service providers and central elements of a sustainable future."

Draft CoR resolution on the COVID-19 pandemic vaccination campaign.

Background information

Contact:

Michele Cercone
Spokesperson of the President
Tel. +32 (0)498 98 23 49
Michele.Cercone@cor.europa.eu

David French
Tel. +32 473 85 47 59
David.French@cor.europa.eu