The EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) has published its seventh Bulletin on the impact of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on fundamental rights across the EU Member States. Coronavirus pandemic in the EU – fundamental rights implications: vaccine rollout and equality of access in the EU (June 2021) covers the period March and April 2021.
Vaccination campaigns are beginning to bring results in the struggle to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the FRA Bulletin also identifies gaps in vaccine strategies and rollout. The focus on older people, those with medical conditions and key workers sometimes overlooked other at-risk groups. Allegations of ‘queue jumping’ in some Member States undermine trust in the fairness of national vaccine strategies. People in vulnerable situations, such as prisoners, homeless people, and migrants, risk to be left behind in the deployment of COVID-19 vaccination. Countries rarely provide accessible information on vaccine strategies and deployment for people with disabilities or in different languages for those who do not speak the national language well, such as migrants or ethnic minorities. FRA calls on EU countries to ensure fair and equal access to vaccines for all.
FRA’s multidisciplinary research network, FRANET, collected the data and information for the Bulletin across all 27 EU Member States. The Institute for Human Rights at Åbo Akademi University, together with the Faculty of Law at the University of Turku, currently form the national focal point of FRANET in Finland. The researchers at the Institute for Human Rights at Åbo Akademi University have compiled the country report on Finland.