Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The European Commission adapted its COVID-19 vaccine procurement agreement with US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German BioNTech.
The EC stressed in a statement that the move will ensure access to vaccines and help the bloc to respond to epidemiological developments and donate vaccines to other countries.
It pointed out that the new agreement adapts delivery schedules, moving deliveries originally planned for the summer to autumn and winter, when EU member states are more likely to need additional shots.
Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, welcomed the agreement and stressed that it allows more flexibility.
“This amendment meets legitimate concerns on matching supply and demand, whilst ensuring security of vaccine supply if and when this is needed later in the year,” she stated.
She noted that vaccines made against new coronavirus variants could be authorised later this year if developed, stressing that the new agreement will grant EU member states access to new vaccines.
The Commission pointed out that it is working closely with suppliers “to address the evolving pandemic needs” and added that it plans to adapt more procurement agreements in the coming period.
EC praises its decisions
The body reminded that it invested a lot in COVID-19 vaccines in 2020 and stressed that “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 Commission expressed belief that the move paid off as pharmaceutical companies developed new vaccines, stressing that EU member states had “access to safe and effective vaccines early and at the scale needed.”
According to the EC, its move saved lives and minimised negative effects of the pandemic on the economy and social life.
EU member states “must continue to ensure they have the strategic stocks of vaccines they need to deal with the potential epidemiological evolution” of SARS-CoV-2, the EC stated.
The Commission stressed the importance of having supply contracts and added that it is helping EU member states to exchange COVID-19 vaccine doses between each other to better address their needs.
It pointed out that demand for COVID-19 vaccines is fluctuating, which is why the agreement with Pfizer was amended.