EU plans to speed up COVID-19 vaccine development

The European Union (EU) is planning to accelerate the development of COVID1-9 vaccines through advance purchase agreements with promising medical companies, the bloc announced.

In order to support companies in the swift development and production of a vaccine, the European Commission will enter into agreements with individual vaccine producers, Xinhua news agency quoted the EU as saying in a statement on Wednesday.

In return for the right to buy a specified number of vaccine doses in a given timeframe, the Commission will finance part of the upfront costs faced by vaccines producers.

Funding provided will be considered as a down-payment on the vaccines that will actually be purchased by the EU’s member states.

The tool was one of the remedies included in the EU’s vaccines strategy, which also allows the European Commission to make use of existing flexibilities in the bloc’s regulatory framework to accelerate the authorization and availability of successful vaccines.

“Today, we are proposing our European Vaccine Strategy. At its core, joint action at EU level will allow all Member States to increase the likelihood of finding an effective vaccine, and to secure the necessary volumes for our citizens at a good price,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a video statement on Wednesday.

“Doing so, we also avoid harmful competition amongst each other, and we deliver tangible European solidarity,” she said.

Von der Leyen said the European Commission supports the idea of a universal and affordable access to vaccines, “especially for the most vulnerable countries, who struggle to secure enough vaccine for their people on the global market”.