On 01 September 2020, German Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Martin Schirdewan of the Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left tabled a written parliamentary question to the European Commission.
MEP Schirdewan asked the European Commission “how much of the EUR 2.7 billion available under the Emergency Support Instrument (ESI) has been committed to the advance purchase agreement with AstraZenca and the anticipated contracts with Moderna, Sanofi-GSK, Johnson & Johnson and CureVac?”
The German MEP further enquired from the Commission “does it foresee the need for additional funding from Member States for the ESI in order to secure a sufficient number of vaccines? “ and “if so, how much funding?”
“Given that the vaccines will be distributed to Member States on the basis of a population indicator”, MEP Schirdewan asked, “will the redistribution of vaccines to Member States in greater need be coordinated by the Commission or on a bilateral basis between Member States?”
On 09 December, Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides responded on behalf of the European Commission and stated that “the COVID-19 pandemic is inflicting huge human and economic costs on the EU and the world”. She added that “a contribution to reducing the impact of this crisis will be achieved by the development and deployment of an effective and safe COVID-19 vaccine and investing up-front in vaccine development to ensure that successful and safe vaccines are being produced at the scale required as early as possible”.
Commissioner Kyriakides further explained that “this is why the Commission adopted an EU Strategy for COVID-19 vaccines and decided to finance a part of the upfront costs faced by vaccines producers from the Emergency Support Instrument (ESI)” and “the Commission made a significant part of EUR 2.7 billion ESI funding (EUR 2.2 billion to date) available for this purpose”. She added that “in order to maximise the chances of success, the most promising candidates will be supported in their development and in the building-up of manufacturing capacity”.
Commissioner Kyriakides underlined that “the joint objective is to obtain a broad portfolio of vaccine candidates that contain different technological approaches to achieve the highest possible chances of a successful COVID-19 vaccine” and “three contracts have already been signed with AstraZeneca, Sanofi-GSK, and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen and others contracts are in negotiation”
She expressed that “as envisaged by the EU Strategy for COVID-19 vaccines, the option of a top-up to the ESI to cover any financing gap for additional contracts is available” and “together with the German Presidency, the Commission has contacted all Member States to call on them to ensure continued financial support for additional negotiations and access to promising vaccines”.
Finally, she declared that “all Member States will have equal access to the available doses” and that “the possibility of redistribution is indeed foreseen in the contracts on the basis of a voluntary coordination between Member States”.
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