Opening Remarks by Commissioner Kyriakides at the EPSCO Council – Revision of provisions of Vaccine Purchase Agreements

(Source: European Commission)

“Check against delivery”

Ministers,

Our EU Vaccines Strategy is a remarkable achievement and we all take pride in it. It is a success we must protect and cannot take for granted.

It is emblematic of everything that has changed in EU health policy in the last three years.

Through this strategy, we have secured enough vaccines for all our citizens, at the same time and with the same conditions, no matter where they live in the EU.

Of course, I’m fully aware of the difficulties some of you are facing, with vaccine supply exceeding demand for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

This is why over the past months we have worked hard together with companies to find solutions. We are negotiating with you, with the producers, and on your behalf, as we have done from the very beginning.

We have concrete results to show for this work.

Together, we have succeeded in modifying our agreements with BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna.

These agreements bring three key benefits:

  • First, they enable alignment of doses to better match your current needs, thereby reducing potentially discarded doses.
  • Second, they secure your access to vaccines to deal with a possible deterioration in the epidemiological situation in the autumn. As experts say, remaining doses are likely to be needed in the coming months.
  • Third, they greatly increase the likelihood of receiving doses in the form of an adapted vaccine.

We will not stop here. We will work with you to push for more flexibility. Work is continuing to adapt the schedule for doses beyond 2022 and spread it over a longer time period.

Our negotiations take full account of needs when it comes to additional booster doses, ahead of the autumn/winter season and future waves. We must protect those most at risk – starting with medically vulnerable and elderly people.

In the Health Security Committee, you’ll be able to discuss the updated recommendation we’re putting together with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the European Medicines Agency on administering additional boosters ahead of the autumn/winter period.

We must maintain the pragmatic approach we had from the very beginning here: there are always two parties to a contract, and they need to be honoured.

We will continue negotiating with you, always in good faith – but cannot unilaterally change the terms of the contracts.

We must maintain our unity and trust between us – this has been our greatest strength: to negotiate these solutions with the companies, within the existing legal and financial frameworks.

Ministers,

From the very beginning, our commitment to work with you and on your behalf is a given. We negotiate your interests, and those of your citizens.

Let us not forget: the pandemic is not over, and vaccines are our best defence. We do not know what is ahead, but we must be ready.

We need solutions to secure early access to the latest generation of COVID-19 vaccines – should they be needed – in quantities needed to vaccinate our citizens and keep them safe from the virus in the coming months.

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