EU countries ready to press European Commission to renegotiate coronavirus vaccine contracts – POLITICO

Polish officials are preparing a letter asking the European Commission to redraft its current coronavirus vaccine procurement agreement after an informal meeting with some EU health ministers on Wednesday.

A Slovakian diplomat said the country planned to support Poland’s a public statement On Thursday, the Bulgarian Ministry of Health also said it was concerned about the current state of vaccine contracts.

“The Ministry of Health believes that states should only be able to buy the quantities they really need,” the Bulgarian Ministry of Health said in a statement that the current vaccine contractual framework “doesn’t work”. The influx of refugees from Ukraine has put additional pressure on the country’s budget, which can be offset by “reducing the number of vaccines”.

Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said Last month, his country would refuse to pay and receive more doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine. An improved pandemic situation means less demand for vaccines. He also cited the financial strain caused by the influx of millions of refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia ask Commission renegotiates contracts to allow deliveries to be shifted to times more likely to be needed, Or offer the option to replace vaccine delivery with other medical products. They noted that an oversupply of vaccines has put pressure on storage and logistics networks in these countries and has also had “budgetary implications”.

The committee has ensured 4.2 billion doses The number of coronavirus vaccines is almost ten times the population of the EU. Of these, 1.3 billion have been delivered so far. Multiple booster doses are required to maintain high antibody protection. Vaccine makers are developing vaccines for variants in preparation for the fall, in case a repeat of the seasonal increase in cases seen in the pandemic over the past two years.

The leveling off of vaccination campaigns and the improvement in the pandemic situation, combined with the substantial increase in vaccine production capacity over the past two years, means that sometimes vaccine doses expire and go unused, and be destroyed. According to NGOs People’s Vaccine Alliancethe EU had to discard 55 million doses of the COVID vaccine by February.

A video conference organized by Poland on Thursday and attended by officials from Romania, Denmark, Slovakia, Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Finland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Czech Republic, Lithuania and Bulgaria, EU diplomacy Officer said. However, attendance does not necessarily imply support for the proposal.

A spokesman for the Polish Ministry of Health said that “most of the delegates at the meeting reported similar problems with the vaccine protocol established in Poland” and supported the idea of ​​a joint letter. The letter is expected to be ready for other countries to sign next week.

“We are committed to resolving this issue in a mutually consensual manner,” the spokesman added.

last week committee Announce It has reached an agreement with BioNTech/Pfizer to reschedule vaccine deliveries for winter and fall.

But an EU diplomat from an eastern European country said that while the Commission’s agreement to make contracts more flexible was appreciated, “there is a need to make more changes than the Commission has promised.”

Another EU diplomat said: “Member states agree that the vaccine surplus is unsustainable and that it is necessary to open existing vaccine procurement contracts to adapt them to market conditions.”

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