As part of the European Union’s efforts to support vaccination in partner countries, this August the European Commission increased its assistance package from €40 million to €75 million to deploy safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines and speed up the vaccination campaigns in the Eastern Partnership countries. With this new €35 million assistance package, the EU seeks to substantially increase access to vaccines in the Eastern Partnership region amid the global vaccine shortage.
StrategEast has interviewed leading EaP experts to hear their thoughts on the EU’s role in vaccination process in their home countries. Here are the answers from Armenia.
Do you believe this aid has a decisive role in ending the pandemic? Do you think this move will speed up the socio-economic recovery of your country?
The highly unsteady state of the world economy created by the pandemic has forced many developed and developing countries worldwide to seek alternatives to lift their national economy out of its depressive state.
From this perspective, vaccination can be considered as one of the possible alternatives. There is no wide choice: either we should take the vaccination, to reduce the probability of infection, or not insist on it, and leave the country on the whim of luck against the background of an increasing number of day to day infections – tendencies, that are also seen in Armenia – or with the new lockdowns continue the stable economic decline.
On the other hand, it is natural that in Armenia, as in other countries, the public does not have a consolidated attitude towards the vaccination process, taking into account the short life of its effect and the possible risks. However, from all the possible alternatives, vaccination should be considered the most acceptable choice for Armenia as well. First of all, it is conditioned with current practices worldwide – where even in terms of market relations- countries with high vaccination rates are first to take economic advantage and benefits due to a more safe environment.
On the other hand, experience has shown that the increased number of vaccination correlates with the rate of tourism activity, and for such a country as Armenia – with rich sightseeing (especially during favorable periods for travel), where tourism provides significant cash inflow for the economy- this may be critical.
With a growing ratio of vaccination, the level of restrictions in the country is decreasing respectively: an important precondition for the rise of economic activity.
It is commonly believed that vaccination will bring the end to the pandemic. As we know, Covid-19 has brought several challenges for the economy affecting tourism and hospitality (including restaurants), leisure facilities and other profitable sectors. Vaccination seems to be the current best solution to the outbreak, at least for the short period, as according to Harvard Professor Kenneth Rogoff first-generation vaccines might only be effective for a short period.
Globally speaking, easy access to vaccination is very important for the economic recovery, as it is the main tool to fight against the new coming wave and will help Armenia to prevent a new lockdown. Since the economy has started to flourish and go normal, vaccination is a way to ensure its continuous development․ This aid will also contribute to economic stability, which, on the other hand, will have a positive impact on the investment and financial sector as well, resulting in more transactions of governmental and corporate bonds and more
Hermine Fanyan and Narine Petrosyan, analysts of “Enlight Studies” NGO
Original source: Strategeast