Today, the European Commission has reached a first agreement with the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to purchase a potential vaccine against COVID-19.
Once the vaccine has proven to be safe and effective against the virus, the European Commission has agreed the basis for a contractual framework for the purchase of 300 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with an option to purchase 100 million more, on behalf of EU Member States. The first agreement includes donating the vaccine to lower and middle-income countries, or re-directing to other European countries and the Commission is continuing discussing similar agreements with other vaccine manufacturers.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said: “The European Commission’s intense negotiations continue to achieve results. Today’s agreement is the first cornerstone in implementing the European Commission’s Vaccines Strategy. This strategy will enable us to provide future vaccines to Europeans, as well as our partners elsewhere in the world.”
A portfolio of COVID-19 vaccines
The agreement approved today will be financed with the Emergency Support Instrument, which has funds dedicated to the creation of a portfolio of potential vaccines with different profiles and produced by different companies. AstraZeneca‘s vaccine candidate is already in large-scale Phase 1 and 2 Clinical Trials after promising results in Phase 1 and 2 concerning safety and immunogenicity.
Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “Today, after weeks of negotiations, we have the first EU advance purchase agreement for a vaccine candidate. I would like to thank AstraZeneca for its constructive engagement on this important agreement for our citizens. We will continue to work tirelessly to bring more candidates into a broad EU vaccines portfolio. A safe and effective vaccine remains the surest exit strategy to protect our citizens and the rest of the world from the coronavirus.”
Together with the Member States and the European Medicines Agency, the Commission will use existing flexibilities in the EU’s regulatory framework to accelerate the authorisation and availability of successful vaccines against COVID-19. This includes an accelerated procedure for authorisation and flexibility in relation to labelling and packaging.
Vaccines for all
The European Commission is also committed to ensuring that everyone who needs a vaccine gets it, anywhere in the world and not only at home. To achieve this goal the European Commission has raised almost €16bn since 4 May 2020 under the Coronavirus Global Response, the global action for universal access to tests, treatments and vaccines against coronavirus and for the global recovery.