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Coronavirus pandemic in the EU - Fundamental Rights implications: Vaccine rollout and equality of access in the EU

On the 16th of June, FRA published the seventh FRA Bulletin on how the COVID-19 pandemic affects fundamental rights. Focusing on equal access to vaccines, it highlights the situation in the 27 EU Member States from March 1st to 30 April 2021. The bulletin analyses two main areas: planning and prioritisation in deploying Covid-19 vaccinations and their rollout in the countries. It also covers topics of information and communication campaigns, (pre)registration channels for vaccinations and the administration of vaccinations.

Deploying vaccines is essential for lifting restrictions on fundamental rights that the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights enshrines, such as the freedom of movement, the right to engage in employment and the right to education. Ensuring equitable access for all in the EU to an affordable (free) vaccine as early as possible is in line with the principle of non-discrimination in EU law.

Member States tend to follow international and EU health authorities, prioritising access to vaccines to priority groups. However, evidence shows that criteria for defining the priority groups have not always taken into account the particular vulnerabilities of certain population groups, such as Roma and Travellers, homeless people or those with drug dependencies. Furthermore, in some Member States, there were allegations of queue jumping, which runs against the principle of vaccine equity.

The full report is available on the website attached below.