Baltic states ask EU to distribute vaccines based on need

  • 2021-03-10
  • LETA/AFP/TBT Staff

TALLINN - The three Baltic states on Wednesday wrote to the European Commission to ask for a new system for distributing Covid-19 vaccines within the EU based on need rather than population size.

In a letter to EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides, the health ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania called for "a temporary re-distribution of deliveries taking into account the extraordinary situations and actual use of vaccines".

They asked that criteria such as availability of vaccines, vaccination rate, case rate, mortality rate and the spread of new variants should be taken into account in the new system.

The plan would "advance the delivery to the member states in most urgent need" and improve efficiency by re-distributing unused vaccines that might be going out of date, they said.

The Baltic states were largely spared during the first wave of the pandemic last year but have been badly affected in recent weeks and have been forced to impose partial lockdowns.

Estonia currently has the second-highest per capita infection rate in the world, according to an AFP tally based on official data over the past 14 days, while Latvia has the second-lowest vaccination rate in the European Union after Bulgaria.