"Covid-19 vaccination campaigns are a welcome boost as society returns to normality and many people regain access to their fundamental rights,” says FRA's Director Michael O'Flaherty. “However, unprecedented vaccination mobilisation efforts risk overlooking vulnerable groups. EU countries need to take care no one is left behind by guaranteeing equitable access to vaccines throughout all stages of national campaigns.”
FRA’s latest ‘Coronavirus pandemic in the EU – fundamental rights implications’ bulletin focuses on equal access to vaccines from planning to rollout. It reveals how countries used varied channels and media to reach diverse groups, including so-called ‘hard-to-reach’ groups.
Vaccination registration was typically offered both online and offline to bridge digital divides and to make it easily accessible to all. Similarly, many countries established mobile vaccination services. This allowed older people, people in remote areas, the homeless or those with reduced mobility to get vaccinated.
But the bulletin also identifies gaps in vaccine strategies and rollout that need addressing:
The bulletin highlights encouraging progress in vaccinating people across the EU. However, it also draws attention to challenges that remain to ensure there is fair and equal access to vaccines that respects international guidance. Vaccine equity will lessen the economic and social cost of the pandemic and protect the social rights of those most at need.
This bulletin covers 27 EU countries from 1 March – 30 April 2021.
FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2021 takes a closer look at how the pandemic affected fundamental rights across the EU throughout 2020.