A group of ten Eastern European countries has called on the European Commission to renegotiate contracts for Covid-19 vaccines, according to a letter consulted by Politico referring to an over-supply with doses and the need to protect state budgets.
Contracts should be able to be concluded “if they are no longer needed in terms of health and epidemiology”, according to one of the letter’s requests. In other cases, it should be possible to reduce the number of doses that are ordered so as to better represent the demand for sera.
The letter was sent on Friday night to European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides. Poland led the initiative and the letter is also signed by Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Some Eastern European countries have previously expressed concern that current Covid vaccine contracts, signed at the height of the pandemic, when the EU was under intense public pressure to buy serums, have blocked them from buying too many doses, which are no longer available. it’s needed.
The Commission has provided up to 4.2 billion doses of Covid vaccine, almost ten times the population of the European Union. In February, 1.3 billion doses were delivered.
“Despite signs that the pandemic is declining and that satisfactory levels of vaccination have been reached in the EU, contracts with vaccine manufacturers provide a supply that significantly exceeds Member States’ needs and absorption capacity,” the letter said. The signatory countries argue that vaccines are at risk of extinction, given the problems with donating doses, which are “a waste of public resources that cannot reasonably be explained to the public. Efforts by the Commission to restore contracts so as to slow down vaccine deliveries are not enough, according to the Eastern European group of states. Countries have written that parts of contracts governing the purchase of vaccines need to be changed.
The letter also refers to the issue of vaccines that are delivered too close to the expiry date, something first mentioned by the Baltic countries, and puts forward a requirement for a minimum storage period. Other demands include ensuring that vaccines protect against the latest spreads and the possibility for the EU Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority to buy unused vaccines to create a common stock and also allow donations to the rest of the world. a more coordinated way.