On Friday, the director of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) called on “the whole world” to gain access to Covid vaccines, while the great powers of the G7 are expected to provide a billion doses to those more in need.
Emer Cooke also assured AFP in an interview that the European regulator remains confident in the effectiveness of the Covid vaccines in the face of the options in circulation, while noting that the situation could “evolve rapidly.”
G7 leaders are to formalize at their summit in Carbis Bay, England, a pledge to deliver a billion doses to the most disadvantaged – a gesture deemed encouraging by several NGOs on Friday.
“This is outside the purview of the EMA, so I can only speak from a personal point of view, and I really think we need to ensure accessibility and accessibility. [des vaccins] around the world, not just in countries that can afford it, ”said Cook.
After a tough start, a vaccination campaign has finally begun in the EU, thanks in part to a permit from December by the vaccine regulator Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
“I thought we would be much smaller than we are now. The fact that we have four vaccines when the pandemic was declared 15 months ago is exceptional, ”said the Irish woman who arrived at the head of the EMA in November 2020. when the EU was waiting for vaccine approval.
– “Effective against variants” –
The emergence of variants today raises many concerns, especially the Delta variant, first discovered in India.
“While we are convinced that vaccines remain effective against circulating variants, this could quickly change,” said Ms Cook.
She pledged that EMA is working with vaccine manufacturers to ensure that the sera remain effective against the variants.
AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, two vaccines based on the same EMA-approved technology, have been heavily criticized for causing rare cases of blood clots.
In addition, a European regulator, as a precautionary measure, on Friday recommended not shipping a shipment of Johnson & Johnson vaccines after a shipment of sera was contaminated with a product destined for another vaccine in the United States.
“Of course, this is not a situation that satisfies us,” said Ms. Cook, optimistic that the situation could be resolved “in July or August”.
In her opinion, these problems will not affect public confidence in vaccines, but rather show that the regulatory system is “working”.
The European regulator is currently evaluating data on other vaccines, including Russian and Chinese sera, which are already being introduced in many countries around the world.
Russian officials this week said they were “optimistic” about the EMA’s approval of the Sputnik V vaccine and warned against “politicizing” the process.
In response to this criticism, Cook assured the Amsterdam-based agency “evaluates each vaccine for its scientific merit according to an independent process that is not influenced by politics.”
Ms Cook did not provide details on when a verdict to authorize the CureVac, Novavax and Sinovac vaccines can be expected.