Laurence Cohen PCF Senator of Val-de-Marne
What is your take on the government’s vaccination strategy?
Laurence Cohen I challenged Jean Castex in the Senate and my criticisms related to the fact that after the fiasco at the level of the masks, then the tests, everyone sees that France is at the back of the pack in terms of vaccination. Once again, the government is not using the right methods. He prefers to entrust the vaccine strategy to a private practice (McKinsey) which makes 10 billion euros in turnover and invoices its fees at 130,000 euros per week. I also questioned Olivier Véran on the way in which it was going to be financed and he answered me that the sum will be taken from the budget of his ministry. There is no transparency, we do not know the recommendations of this cabinet. It is obvious today that it is the vaccine doses that are lacking, even if its storage conditions must be taken into consideration.
What do you think is the government’s room for maneuver vis-à-vis the multinationals that market these vaccines?
Laurence Cohen Bringing multiple vaccines to market is great news, but the frantic lab race was first driven by profit. When will Sanofi be forced by the government to participate in the collective effort to produce vaccines? When will this policy of job cuts in public research and development come to an end? It is also urgent to allow the distribution of doses at cost price. And we must fight against the logic of profit that was put in place with the pandemic, as we are trying to do with our partners in the European Union. We are also proposing the creation of a European public center for medicines and research: the health crisis has demonstrated to what extent we have lost all sovereignty, national or European, in the face of the challenges posed by Covid-19.
How could we promote pooling and cooperation?
Laurence Cohen If we want to protect people, the vaccine must be in the public domain and rich and poor countries be treated the same. This is what will make all the difference, because the protection of some guarantees that of others. Today we are reliving with vaccines what happened at the start of the pandemic with protective equipment such as masks, gloves and gowns. The government has clearly anchored its action in a policy of competition instead of cooperation and solidarity.