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March 24 2023 – ‘Exchange of views with Commissioner Kyriakides & Emer Cooke, Executive Director EMA’ – LINK – On Monday 27 March, Commissioner for Health, Food and Safety, Stella Kyriakides and Executive Director of the European Medicines Agency, Emer Cooke will hold an exchange of views with Members of the COVI Special Committee on how Europe can be better prepared for future pandemics. The exchange of views with Commissioner will focus on the EU global health strategy, on how to boost investments in R&D in health, the development of HERA, the role of One Health, an international agreement on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines, the coordination and collaboration Long COVID, shortages of medicines in the EU. The debate with Ms Cooke will focus on the effective evaluation and authorisation of medical products, adverse effects, and a coordinated approach to post pandemic conditions such as Long COVID.

March 23 2023 – ‘Joint Convening on COVID-19 Vaccinations in Humanitarian settings and contribution to broader pandemic preparedness’ – LINK – On Thursday, the study on ‘Mapping of Long-term Public and Private Investments in the Development of Covid-19 Vaccines’, which was commissioned by the COVI Special Committee, was presented by its authors in the European Parliament. The presentation provided to Members insights on the mapping of funds contributed by different actors for vaccine Research and Development (R&D) and for the expansion of production capacity of COVID-19 vaccines, with the focus on the EU. The study assesses the necessity for continuing public support to R&D on vaccines highlighting current market failures, possible new incentive mechanisms in the public interest for vaccine R&D, designed to grant equity and accessibility, as well as rewards in line with risks.

March 19 2023 – ‘ Bill Gates: ‘I Worry We’re Making the Same Mistakes Again’ – LINK – Bill Gates argues in an editorial in the New York Times, that the Covid pandemic was so destructive due to a culmination of a collective failure to prepare for pandemics, despite many warnings. He worries we are making the same mistakes again. He writes that he is optimistic about the WHO planned Global Health Emergency Corps – which just like firefighters run drills to practice responding to fire, the Emergency Corps plans to run drills to practice for outbreaks. He writes that one of the most important jobs of the corps will be to ‌‌take quick action to stop the spread of a pathogen. The speed of action requires countries to have large-scale testing capabilities that identify potential threats early. Environmental surveillance like sewage testing is key, since many pathogens show up in human waste. If a sewage sample comes back positive, a rapid response team would deploy to the affected area to find people who might be infected, carry out a response plan‌‌ and kick off the necessary community education about what to look for and how to stay protected.