While Europe is slowly moving beyond confinement at home, COVID-19 continues to pose many questions for policymakers and citizens alike. As the global race for a vaccine intensifies, the issues of ‘vaccine nationalism’ and trust in vaccines become even more vital. Vaccine refusal is a huge problem in Europe – in France, for example, 26% of survey respondents would refuse a COVID-19 vaccine. This Strategic Conversation with Marc Van Ranst, Virologist and Member of the Group of Experts for an Exit Strategy (GEES), will look at how we learn to live with COVID-19 and manage future disease outbreaks.
This new Strategic Conversations series invites key policymakers to share their views on a range of important and strategically relevant issues through interviews with senior thinkers on the Friends of Europe team.
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- What should be done to bolster global efforts in the race for a vaccine and prevent ‘vaccine nationalism’?
- What should policymakers and pharmaceutical companies do to ensure that a potential COVID-19 vaccine or treatment is available to everyone?
- If and when a vaccine is available, should it be mandatory?
Marc Van Ranst
Virologist and Member of the Group of Experts for an Exit Strategy (GEES)
Senior Fellow for Health at Friends of Europe
Marc Van Ranst is a Professor of Virology and Epidemiology and the Director of the Clinical and Epidemiological Virology Unit at the Rega Institute for Medical Research at KULeuven. In that capacity, he partakes in the Group of Experts for an Exit Strategy (GEES), which advises the Belgian government on the country’s plan for the end of lockdown measures. Van Ranst was President of the Vaccination Section of the Belgian High Council for Public Health for fifteen years.
Tamsin Rose is Senior Fellow at Friends of Europe. Having studied international relations, she has 25 years of experience working across the European continent from Ireland to Mongolia. A natural communicator, Tamsin has been a radio reporter, worked on press for the EU Delegation in Moscow and is currently a member of the external speaker team for the European Commission Directorate General for Communication, describing how the EU works and key policies to visitor groups from around the world. Since 2002 she has specialised in public health and public participation issues, serving as Secretary General of the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), and providing strategic advice for health groups on how to engage successfully with the EU.
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