HRC 52 - Interactive Dialogue with the High Commissioner’s report on access to COVID-19 vaccines


52nd session

Interactive Dialogue with the High Commissioner’s report on access to COVID-19 vaccines

16 March 2023

EU Statement

Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The EU reaffirms its strong commitment to the universal realisation of the right to health and the right to social security.

A little over three years ago, the WHO declared the then novel COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic. Since then, the EU, its Member States, and financial institutions, acting together as ‘Team Europe’, have pooled resources and expertise to tackle the destructive impact of COVID-19 together. So far, we have mobilised € 53.7 billion in support of our partner countries to halt the spread of COVID-19 by contributing to a fast and equitable access to safe, quality, effective, and affordable tests, treatments, and vaccines against coronavirus, to strengthen partner countries' healthcare, water, and sanitation systems, and to mitigate the immediate social and economic consequences of the crisis.

At the same time, we realise that the work is far from done. As your report highlights, Mr High Commissioner, among the lessons learned is the need for vaccination strategies that are human rights-based and sustainable. Your report states that, going forward, it will be important to assist countries in applying an intersectional human rights approach when determining priority groups for vaccinations within their national plans and strategies. However, to a large extent, it is necessary to remove all barriers to access Covid-19 vaccines because national strategies should be based on population needs. We face constant changes in the use of vaccines, to which we should have a flexible approach. What steps will your Office take in this regard? I thank you.