EU secures billions more vaccines

The European Commission on Thursday signed a third contract with the pharmaceutical companies BioNTech and Pfizer, reserving an additional 1.8 billion doses on behalf of all EU Member States, between the of 2021 to 2023.
The deal will allow for the purchase of 900 million doses of the current vaccine and of a vaccine adapted to variants, with the option to purchase an additional 900 million doses.
The contract requires that the vaccine production is based in the EU and that essential components are sourced from the EU. It also stipulates that, from the start of the supply in 2022, the delivery to the EU is guaranteed.
“We need to be one step ahead of the virus. This means having access to adapted vaccines to protect us against the threat of variants, booster vaccines to prolong immunity, as well as protecting our younger population,” said Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety. “Our focus is a priority on technologies that have proven their worth, like mRNA vaccines, but we keep our options open. The past months have clearly demonstrated the need to have access to a broad portfolio of vaccines and different technologies, as well as reliable partners. As the pace of vaccination increases every day and work on effective therapeutics intensifies, we can look ahead with more optimism and confidence.”
The possibility for Member States to resell or donate doses to countries in need outside the EU or through the COVAX Facility has been reinforced, contributing to a global and fair access to the vaccine across the world.
“With our signature, the new contract is now in force, which is good news for our long term fight to protect European citizens against the virus and its variants,” said President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. “Production and delivery in the EU of up to 1.8 billion doses are guaranteed. Potential contracts with other manufacturers will follow the same model, to the benefit of all.”
Thursday’s contract with the BioNTech-Pfizer alliance builds upon the broad portfolio of vaccines to be produced in Europe, including the already signed contracts with AstraZeneca, Sanofi-GSK, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, Curevac and Moderna and BioNTech/Pfizer itself. The Commission has granted conditional marketing authorisation for the vaccines developed by BioNTech and Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson.
According to the European Commission, this diversified vaccines portfolio ensures Europe has access to enough doses to immunise its whole population including for the variant viruses.
Monaco Life with Reuters, photo source Pixabay