EFPIA-Vaccines Europe Statement on State of the Union Address

Commenting on the State of the Union address given by President von der Leyen, EFPIA Director General, Nathalie Moll said. “The President is right to acknowledge the extraordinary achievement in discovering, developing, manufacturing and distributing COVID-19 vaccines allied to significant improvements how we treat COVID-19 patients. The last 12 months have underlined the critical importance of medical innovation in tackling emerging health threats and addressing our existing health challenges. As we look forward, our industry is committed to working with the EU and Member States to ensure that Europe can be at the forefront of advances in prevention and treatment to build a safer, more resilient and healthier Europe”.

The State of the Union address affords an opportunity to reflect on a year that has continued to be dominated by the devastating human and economic cost of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time there is reason for hope. As the President reflected in her speech, “When I stood in front of you 12 months ago, I did not know when – or even if – we would have a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19.” One year on, over 70% of Europe’s adult population has been vaccinated and the discovery, development and manufacture of COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments and vaccines has stemmed the tide of hospitalisations and deaths facilitating a cautious return to economic activity. 

EFPIA and Vaccines Europe (VE) welcome the commitments given by President von der Leyen to advance global vaccine equity, through support of mRNA manufacture and sharing of doses with lower and middle income countries. This global pandemic continues to require a global response. 

In addition, EFPIA and VE welcome the reference to the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) in the President’s speech. Addressing global health crises begins with planning and preparation. EFPIA and VE support HERA’s inclusion of an end-to-end approach from surveillance and horizon scanning to facilitating the research and development of medical countermeasures, through production and distribution to enhancing Member State capacity and facilitating international cooperation. The new Authority represents an important step in ensuring that Europe is better prepared for emerging health threats.