Europe secures another 405m vaccine doses

European Commission signs fifth Covid-19 vaccine advance purchase agreement

Up to 405 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine produced by the European pharmaceutical company, CureVac, have been secured by the European Commission (EC) under a new agreement authorised yesterday (November 17).

Earlier this year, the Commission provided funding to CureVac, together with the European Investment Bank, to support the development of the CureVac vaccine.

Yesterday’s contract with CureVac enlarged the portfolio of vaccines to be produced in Europe, including the contracts signed with AstraZeneca, Sanofi-GSK, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV and BioNtech-Pfizer, and exploratory talks with Moderna.

The EC with CureVac provides for the initial purchase of 225m doses on behalf of all European Union Member States, plus an option to request up to a further 180m doses, to be supplied once a vaccine has proven to be safe and effective against Covid-19.

“We do not know at this stage, which vaccines will end up being safe and effective,” the President of the EC, Ursula von der Leyen, acknowledged.

“The European Medicines Agency will authorise them only after a robust assessment. This is why we need to have a broad portfolio of vaccines based on very different technologies.”

In parallel, the EC is working with the global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to Covid-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines, under the World Health Organization (WHO)-led Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility (COVAX) facility, to provide access to vaccines for low- and middle-income countries.

There are currently more than 100 Covid-19 vaccine candidates under development, with a number of these in the human trial phase, according to the WHO.

The WHO is working in collaboration with scientists, business, and global health organisations through the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a groundbreaking global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to Covid-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines to speed up the pandemic response.

When a safe and effective vaccine is found, COVAX is to facilitate the equitable access and distribution of these vaccines to protect people in all countries.

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