Eastern European countries ask Commission to reopen vaccine contracts – POLITICO

A group of ten Eastern European countries have asked the European Commission to renegotiate coronavirus vaccine contracts, in a letter seen by POLITICO which cites an oversupply of doses and the need to protect the finances of the ‘State.

The contracts should be able to be terminated “if they are no longer necessary from a sanitary and epidemiological point of view”, reads one of the demands of the letter. In other cases, it should be possible to reduce the number of doses ordered so that they better reflect the demand for injections.

The letter was sent on Friday evening and is addressed to EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides. Poland led the initiative and the letter was also signed by Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

A number of Eastern European countries had previously raised concerns that existing coronavirus vaccine contracts, signed at the height of the pandemic when the EU was under intense public pressure to to get injections, forced them to buy too many doses that are no longer needed. The Commission has obtained up to 4.2 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines, almost ten times the population of the EU. In February, 1.3 billion had been delivered.

“Despite signs that the pandemic is abating and that satisfactory vaccination levels have been achieved across the EU, contracts with vaccine manufacturers provide for the supply of quantities of vaccine that far exceed the needs of Member States and their ability to absorb them,” the letter read. .

The countries that signed the letter argue that the vaccines are at risk of expiring without being used given the problems with vaccine donations, which is “a waste of public resources that cannot be reasonably explained to the public”.

Efforts by the Commission to redesign contracts to better stagger deliveries do not go far enough, according to the group of Eastern European countries. The countries write that the parts of the contracts that regulate vaccine purchases need to be changed.

The letter also cites the problem of vaccines being delivered close to their expiry date, something mentioned for the first time by the Baltic countries, and asks for a minimum shelf life requirement.

Other demands include ensuring that the vaccines protect against the latest variants in circulation and the possibility that the EU Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority will buy unused vaccines to create a common stock and also allow donations. to the rest of the world in a more coordinated way.


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