European Health Union: Commission secures agreement with BioNTech-Pfizer on the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines
Today, the European Commission, acting with and on behalf of EU Member States through the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA), and vaccine developers BioNTech-Pfizer, have reached an agreement to better address Member States‘ assessment of evolving needs for COVID-19 vaccines.The amendment to the existing vaccines supply contract takes into account the improved epidemiological situation, while continuing to ensure access to the latest available version of the vaccine should COVID-19 variants of concern appear in the future.
The agreement announced today has secured the following adaptations to the existing contract:
- a reduction in the quantity of doses purchased by Member States under the contract. Following payment of a fee, originally contracted doses will be converted into optional orders;
- an extension in the length of time in which Member States will be able to take delivery of the vaccines – up to 4 years from now;
- the possibility to continue to have access to additional doses up to the original contracted volume until the end of the contract to meet needs, should cases rise, and the epidemiological situation deteriorate;
- continued access to vaccines adapted to new variants as soon as authorised by the regulators.
The amendment was reached following negotiations between the vaccine developers, Member States and the Commission to better align to vaccine strategies and the evolving public health needs in the Member States.
As from 2020, and in line with our EU Vaccines Strategy, the European Union invested heavily in the global production of COVID-19 vaccines.It was crucial to have vaccines as early as possible and at the scale needed, requiring important investments before knowing whether any of these vaccines would prove successful.
The implementation of our EU Vaccines Strategy exceeded all expectations: EU Member States had access to safe and effective vaccines from a broad portfolio of different technologies, and at the scale needed, allowing all EU citizens to be offered primary and booster vaccinations, saving lives and mitigating the impact the pandemic had upon social and economic life.
Moreover, a large number of these vaccines have been used in the global efforts to tackle the pandemic. Member States have shared 526 million doses of which around 494.4 million have already been delivered to recipient countries.
At the same time, Member States must continue to ensure they have the strategic stocks of vaccines they need to protect the vulnerable parts of their populations and deal with the potential epidemiological evolution of the COVID-19 virus.
The Commission, Member States and BioNTech-Pfizer have previously signed amendments to the contract which adapted delivery schedules to the needs of the Member States and established a central storage facility increasing storage capacity for Member States.
Safe COVID-19 vaccines for Europeans