The European Commission and Moderna have reached an agreement to better address Member States needs for COVID-19 vaccines for the late summer and winter period.
This will ensure national authorities have access to the vaccines, including variant-adapted vaccines if authorised, at the time they need them for their own vaccination campaigns and to support their global partners.
This agreement will adapt the originally agreed contractual delivery schedules. Doses originally scheduled for delivery in the summer will now be delivered in September and during the autumn and winter period 2022, when Member States will more likely need additional stocks of vaccines for national campaigns and meeting their international solidarity commitments.
The agreement also ensures that, if one or more adapted vaccines receive marketing authorisation, Member States may choose to receive those adapted vaccines under the current contract.
In this context, at the request of some Member States, the agreement also secures additional 15 million doses of Omicron-containing vaccine booster candidates from Moderna, subject to marketing authorisation within timelines that would allow the use of these doses for their vaccination campaigns.
Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, said: 'Increasing COVID-19 vaccination and booster rates will be crucial as we plan ahead for the autumn and winter months. To best ensure our common preparedness, Member States must have the necessary tools. This includes vaccines adapted to variants, as and when they are authorised by the European Medicines Agency. This agreement will ensure that Member States will have access to the vaccine doses they need at the right time to protect our citizens'.
In 2020, the European Union invested heavily in the global production of a number of COVID-19 vaccines. It was crucial to have vaccines as early as possible and at the scale needed, requiring important investments before knowing whether any of these vaccines would prove successful.
These actions taken at risk in 2020 have clearly paid off, as the development of vaccines has been highly successful: Member States had equal access to safe and effective vaccines at the earliest opportunity, and at the scale needed, allowing all EU citizens to be offered primary and booster vaccinations, saving lives and mitigating the impact of the pandemic upon social and economic life.
Moreover, a large number of these vaccines could also be used in the global efforts to tackle the pandemic. As of end July 2022, the EU exported more than 2.4 billion vaccine doses to 168 countries. Member States have shared over 478 million doses of which around 406 million have already been delivered to recipient countries (around 82% of these via COVAX). At the same time, Member States must continue to ensure they have the strategic stocks of vaccines they need to deal with the potential epidemiological evolution of the COVID-19 virus, given the uncertainties over its future evolution and impact. The EU's Vaccines Strategy provides Member States with certainty that they will have the supply they need, including of adapted vaccines.