On 20 January 2021, VP Věra Jourová, State Secretary for EU Affairs Milena Hrdinková, the President of the Czech Academy of Sciences Eva Zažímalová and a known molecular immunologist, Václav Hořejší, held an online Dialogue on the topic of vaccination against COVID-19 and its myths and facts.
This discussion focused on the current vaccination situation in Czechia, the spread of misinformation on COVID-19 vaccines and the sentiment among Czechs to get vaccinated. Moreover, the debate also touched on the importance of sufficient vaccine supplies to swiftly vaccinate priority groups and to achieve at least 70% inoculation among adults by autumn 2021.
Online participants wanted to know when will the EU have enough vaccines for everyone, and how prioritisation would be organised. “Special attention and eaiser access to the vaccination process should be given to disabled people”, said one participant. There were also questions about the different types of vaccination available and if patients would be able to choose the brand of vaccine they should get.
Other questions focused on the need for more coordination among EU Member States, with one participant asking that they mutually recognise certificates of antigenic and PCR tests, as testing processes are very similar in all EU27 countries. “Should vaccinated people have advantages over non-vaccinated people, for example when travelling?”, asked one participant.
Several citizens stressed that getting vaccinated is crucial and is a form of solidarity towards those whose medical condition prevents them from receiving the vaccine. VP Jourová suggested that, to prevent misinformation, Member States should mainly focus their communication strategies around positive messages, supported by information from Health Ministries and the WHO.
The online debate was organised by the European Commission Representation in Prague, the EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy and the Eurocentre Praha,under the Café Europe debate format.