An intergovernmental agreement between EU Member States has been developed to accelerate the search for a coronavirus vaccine, coinciding with an EU proposal to negotiate supplies directly with manufacturers.
The Inclusive Vaccine Alliance has been created by the Netherlands, France, Germany and Italy. The alliance is examining the different vaccine projects currently ongoing, and seeks to negotiate around, for example, where the eventual vaccines are manufactured. The Dutch Government said in a press release:
“The alliance is working hard to explore promising vaccine development initiatives to secure enough coronavirus vaccines for countries in the EU and beyond. Working together puts the countries in a better position to achieve fast, optimal results in their discussions with key stakeholders from the pharmaceutical industry when it comes to promising vaccine initiatives. The alliance also wants pharmaceutical companies to agree that any vaccine developed must be accessible, available and affordable everywhere in the EU.”
The Alliance aims to bring the EU into negotiations when possible.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that an internal EU memo has explained there is concern that powerful nations (such as the USA and China) may obtain the vast majority of vaccine supplies, leaving the EU short.
The proposal appears to be based on the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) which contributes to industrial vaccine R&D in exchange for a negotiated supply guarantee should the project prove successful. The European Commission must secure a mandate from the EU Member States in order to be allowed to enter such negotiations. As yet, no decision has been taken.
Bloomberg asked European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides to comment on their report. The Commissioner said:
“A joint approach toward industry is the best way to ensure a fair and timely access to a vaccine for our citizens. An EU strategy for Covid-19 vaccines would define the exact needs and help maximise access to the vaccine when it becomes available”