Jacob Kirkegaard Joins VRT’s "Terzake"
GMF Senior Fellow Jacob Kirkegaard sat down for an interview with Belgian Public Broadcaster VRT for their “Terzake” show to discuss the vaccine rollout and lessons learned for the member states and the European Commission. Kirkegaard noted that healthcare is rightly in the hands of the member states. However, when there is a serious crisis, there should be a European Agency supporting R&D, among others. In this context, Kirkegaard advocated for the creation of a European counterpart to the U.S. agency Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). Speaking to the current issue around the pandemic and the vaccine rollout, he stated that when the contracts with vaccine producers were being negotiated in May and June last year, there was a lot of uncertainty. “We did not know if the vaccines would work or when they would be ready. What we did know is that hundreds of millions of people would need the vaccine. That is why you need a negotiator who can take risks," Kirkegaard explained. He added that "next time, and it won't be 100 years, we have to be prepared to take big risks too, very early and only the Member States can do that. The problem for the European Commission is that it cannot do that."