EU governments not yet prepared to new COVID-19 surge: Commission

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – On Thursday, the European Commission told EU governments that it was not ready for the increase of COVID-19 infections, proposing common vaccine roll-out initiatives where available.

"As the pandemic develops back to March stage, it's not our preparedness," said Margaritis Schinas, EU Executive Vice President.

He encouraged the EU countries to follow a collective pandemic policy to stop the 'cacophony' of the numerous national initiatives marked by a pandemic on the continent in the first months of the year.

Europe has overcome the US with new cases reaching about 100,000 every day, with more than 51,000 COVID-19 infections registered daily on average.

With trials of COVID-19 vaccinations going forward, Brussels encourages EU governments to draw up vaccination schedules by the end of the year, according to the WHO.

Health policy in the 27 Country Blocs is a national prerogative, and only proposal for collective initiatives can be provided by the EU Committee.

The Commission said it encouraged governments to stop the shortage that the bloc fell in March when there was an outbreak, of qualified staff armed of required protective gear.

The most marginalized people, including healthcare and long term care staff, individuals over 60 and those with chronic illnesses, primary employees and more deprived social groups, should first obtain the vaccination.

The Commission reported in July that over 200 million of the EU 's population of 450 million may be in "priority categories."

The Commission also called on EU administrations to brace for the potential supply of vaccinations which may have to be processed at exceptionally low temperatures.

(Francesco Guarascio 's article @fraguarascio, Robin Emmott editorial)