COVID-19 vaccines: MEPs call for more clarity and transparency
Lack of transparency has recently fuelled uncertainty and disinformation regarding COVID-19 vaccination in Europe, say MEPs.
On Tuesday, members of the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety quizzed Sandra Gallina, the EU’s lead negotiator on COVID-19 vaccine contracts, on the latest developments regarding contracts, transparency, authorisations, availability and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines.
MEPs underlined the need for more clarity and transparency regarding vaccine contracts, as well as the decision-making process at EU level. They welcomed the European Commission’s openness to share available information whilst also acknowledging that some questions can be better answered by member states and pharmaceutical companies.
Many questions concerned possible additional national or bilateral contracts. The Commission confirmed that it is not aware of any such alleged contracts. Through the Joint Procurement Agreement, the EU has priority to deliver vaccines, which will then be distributed to member states on a pro-rata basis.
Following requests from MEPs, the Commission provided information regarding a number of other specific issues:
- A reading room is open for MEPs wishing to review vaccine contracts - one contract is currently available (CureVac), with others released pending the agreement of pharmaceutical companies;
- The European Medicines Agency received the application for the AstraZeneca vaccine yesterday – the conditional market authorisation is expected at the end of January;
- The largest quantities of vaccines are expected during the second quarter of 2021, as already agreed in the existing contracts - specific strategies for deployment, including priority groups for vaccination, are set up by each member state;
- As of next week, a dedicated platform will be available where member states can report, twice a week, the number of vaccines received and used.
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