Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) has opted for further joint European procurement of Corona– Vaccines pronounced. “We will do our utmost to ensure that we act together,” Rauch said at his first meeting with his EU counterparts in Brussels on Tuesday. “If one thing has been shown during the pandemic, small countries like Austria are not really capable of acting on their own.”
Rauch explained, “we do not have the negotiating position towards the manufacturers, European solidarity is needed”. At today’s meeting, the current ordering modalities will be discussed. So far, procurement has been handled by the EU Commission, and countries have been able to register their needs.
Another topic of discussion is the EU’s contribution to the international vaccination initiative Covax and how this can be improved. Third countries were often no longer able to use the vaccine, partly because of the short expiry date. According to Rauch, the aim is to enter into dialogue with the manufacturers in this regard, also with regard to the availability of the vaccines.
According to the Minister of Health, war refugees from Ukraine will also have a “high priority” at the meeting. He was “glad” that “the EU reacted collectively very quickly,” emphasized Rauch. The concern of his German counterpart Karl Lauterbach about the “large vaccination gaps” among those seeking protection from Ukraine in relation to Corona said the Minister of Health. He referred to a free vaccination offer for the displaced.
Rauch explained the recognition of professional qualifications in health professions: “Any person who would like to work in Austria in this profession is very welcome, we urgently need nursing staff.” He emphasized that one would “rapidly create the opportunity” to take up the profession.
As far as the admission of seriously ill people from Ukraine is concerned, Austria is fulfilling “its obligation”, said Rauch. There are already children with cancer from the Ukraine in Austria who need special treatment, “this is necessary because help has to be provided very quickly and unbureaucratically”.