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Slovenia aims to eliminate growing differences in vaccination rates between EU Member States

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Slovenia, along with five other like-minded countries, advocated that most of these vaccines be distributed on the basis of solidarity (those left behind get more); however, the views of those Member States that already have a high vaccination rate were different. At the Council of Europe video conference on 25 March 2021, EU leaders agreed to confirm the key to vaccine distribution in proportion to the population and called on the Permanent Representatives Committee to address the issue of speed of vaccine distribution when ten million accelerated doses of Pfizer-BioNTech are allocated in the second quarter of 2021 in a spirit of solidarity.

Slovenia continued to advocate the distribution of solidarity of at least five million doses out of ten. During the negotiations, the presidency proposed to distribute only 3 million doses of vaccines in solidarity and initially only in the five Member States with the lowest vaccination rate (ie Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia and Slovakia), while the rest would receive those of the remaining 7 million doses according to the size of their population. In this case, Slovenia would receive 32,769 doses of the vaccine. In further negotiations, the presidency slightly increased the share of distribution solidarity given the share that Slovenia would receive in line with its population size out of the total amount of 10 million doses of vaccine. Therefore, Slovenia will receive an additional 14,044 doses of vaccine under the final agreement.

The solution of the Portuguese presidency was acceptable for Austria and Slovenia, but not for the Czech Republic, which is currently heavily affected by the coronavirus crisis. Precisely because of the Czech Republic, Slovenia also insisted on another solution. It is unfortunate that solidarity was denied to the Czech Republic by countries that did not order the very affordable AstraZeneca vaccine and thus will be able to achieve a vaccination rate of over 60% or even over 80% by June. As already mentioned, Slovenia estimated that at least 5 million out of 10 million doses of vaccine should be distributed in solidarity, as agreed approximately on Thursday, in order to provide for all Member States, including the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic is one of the few countries that helped Slovenia with personal protective equipment during the first wave of the epidemic when the shortage was most severe. We therefore insisted on supporting the Czech Republic and we deeply regret that the decision adopted was largely to its detriment.

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