• Alysa Salzberg

Could EU translation requirements delay distribution of a coronavirus vaccine?

We’re all impatient for a COVID-19 vaccine to be released. But some experts are worried about a major roadblock that will arise when that happens.


Current EU legislation requires all medications to have instructions available in each of the EU’s official 24 languages. These translations are held to strict standards, ensuring proper terminology has been used.


This makes sense from a standpoint of consumer safety, but researchers argue that the wait for certified translators and accurate translations in each language could cause significant delays in distributing the COVID-19 vaccine (once an effective one is created and approved).


Michel Stoffel, head of regulatory affairs at Vaccines Europe, has requested that the EU choose a single language for vaccine packaging in all of its 27 member countries.


Another solution, albeit one that would still require multiple translations, would be to use a single language could be used on physical packaging and make instructions in other languages accessible online.


Still, nothing has been decided. It’s understandable that legislators might hesitate. If any medication, no matter how urgently needed, isn’t administered correctly, it could end up doing the exact opposite of what was intended: harming, instead of healing. Or simply not being effective and thus causing the pandemic to continue.


Read on to learn more about EU translation requirements’ potential impact on the coronavirus vaccine.



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