Coronavirus Vaccine: European Commission Signs Contract with AstraZeneca

Signature of the contract between the European Commission and AstraZeneca by Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner, Photo: European Commission
Signature of the contract between the European Commission and AstraZeneca by Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner, Photo: European Commission

The contract with AstraZeneca is an important step in the implementation of the European Vaccines Strategy.

The first contract the European Commission has negotiated on behalf of the EU Member States with a pharmaceutical company entered into force on August 27 following the formal signature between AstraZeneca and the Commission.

The contract will allow the purchase of a vaccine against Covid-19 for all the Member States of the EU as well as the donation to lower and middle income countries or the re-direction to other European countries.

Through the contract, all Member States will be able to purchase 300 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with an option for further 100 million doses, to be distributed on a population-based pro-rata basis.

The Commission continues discussing similar agreements with other vaccine manufacturers and has concluded exploratory talks with Sanofi-GSK on 31 July, Johnson & Johnson on 13 August, CureVac on 18 August, and Moderna on 24 August.

“The Commission is working non-stop to provide EU citizens with a safe and effective vaccine against Covid-19 as quickly as possible. The entry into force of the contract with AstraZeneca is an important step forward in this respect,” said Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission.

“Our negotiations have now delivered clear results: a first contract signed delivering on our commitment to ensure a diversified vaccine portfolio to protect the public health of our citizens,” said Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety.

AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford joined forces to develop and distribute the University’s potential recombinant adenovirus vaccine aimed at preventing Covid-19 infection.

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According to the European Commission, AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate is already in large-scale Phase II/III Clinical Trials after promising results in Phase I/II concerning safety and immunogenicity.

The contract is based on the Advanced Purchase Agreement approved on 14 August with AstraZeneca, which will be financed with the Emergency Support Instrument.

The “Inclusive Vaccine Alliance” countries (Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands) who started negotiations with AstraZeneca asked the Commission to take over through an agreement signed on behalf of all Member States.

The contract with AstraZeneca is an important step in the implementation of the European Vaccines Strategy, adopted by the Commission on 17 June 2020. This strategy aims to secure for all European citizens high-quality, safe, effective, and affordable vaccines within 12 to 18 months.

The European Commission says it is also committed to ensuring that everyone who needs a vaccine gets it, anywhere in the world and not only at home. No one will be safe until everyone is safe. This is why it has raised almost €16 billion 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.

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Rakesh Raman