The EU contract for the purchase of up to 1.8 billion additional doses of corona vaccine from Biontech / Pfizer is signed and sealed. This was announced on Saturday by the EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Twitter. The amount should be delivered by 2023. 900 million cans are to be ordered firmly, another 900 million cans are an option.
The aim is to refresh the vaccinations of adults and immunize the 70 to 80 million children in the EU against the coronavirus. According to information from the German Press Agency (dpa), the contract has a volume of up to 35 billion euros and means further investments in Germany and Belgium.
Price is likely to be 19.50 euros
As a rule, the EU Commission does not officially say anything about the cost of the vaccines purchased. According to dpa information, the agreed price per dose is in the order of magnitude that Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boiko Borissow had last named: around 19.50 euros per dose. The price of 23.50 euros mentioned in media reports is too high, it was said in Brussels. The sum per dose is “less than 20 euros”.
According to a letter from the Federal Ministry of Finance to the Bundestag budget committee, Germany could obtain 165 million cans from ordering the first 900 million cans. The costs for this are accordingly 3.83 billion euros.
The EU Commission defended that the price would be higher than the previous contracts with Biontech / Pfizer. There are stricter delivery agreements, other liability rules and agreements to adapt the vaccine to new virus variants, the authority said. In addition, the EU will no longer pay any more money to promote production.
Von der Leyen announced on April 14th that negotiations were being held with the German company Biontech and its US partner Pfizer about the delivery of the huge amount. The conversations then dragged on longer than expected. France was reported to have objected. Ultimately, however, all 27 EU countries supported the deal, as the EU Commission announced on Friday. All EU commissioners then agreed in a written procedure. Now officially there is still an objection period of five working days until the signature can be placed on the contract.
New mutations are expected to require an additional 640 million doses
The EU Commission expects that around 700 million doses will be required for booster and vaccination of children in 2022 and 2023. If a mutation of the coronavirus occurs against which the previous vaccinations do not help, 640 million doses would be needed to completely re-immunize 70 percent of the EU population.
For the current vaccination campaign, the EU already has two framework contracts with Biontech for 600 million vaccination doses, which have been gradually being delivered since the end of 2020. From the beginning of April to the end of June alone, the EU expects 250 million vaccine doses from the manufacturers.
Their mRNA vaccine was the first to be approved in Europe. It is considered very effective and very safe. One advantage of the new mRNA technology is that vaccines can be adapted to virus mutations relatively quickly. The disadvantage is that the preparation has to be stored at very low temperatures and is comparatively expensive. Manufacturers such as Astrazeneca and Johnson & Johnson use a different mode of action with the help of so-called adenoviruses.
The head of the Commission had already announced that part of the agreement would be a complete production in the EU – not only of the vaccine, but also of all the essential components. So far, the supply chains for the raw materials have been networked around the world. Manufacturers are sometimes worried about replenishing important components such as lipids, which are necessary for mRNA vaccines.
hr / with material from dpa