The EU vaccine portfolio already includes 2.6 billion doses, but the shortage of injections will continue at least until the second quarter.
The European Commission approved this Wednesday a second contract with the American laboratory Moderna to buy, on behalf of all Member States, up to 300 million additional doses of its Covid-19 vaccine. The contract establishes that 150 million doses will be delivered already throughout 2021, with a purchase option of another 150 million in 2022.
Moderna’s vaccine is one of three licensed in the European Union so far, along with Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) gave it the green light on January 6 and since then it has been used in all member states, including Spain. The original contract contemplated the acquisition of up to 160 million doses, to which the new 300 million will now be added.
Of this amount, our country corresponds to around 10%, that is, 30 million doses. Precisely, Moderna has announced a week that it cuts its shipments in half this week, although it promises to recover the ground lost already in March.
The new contract with Moderna constitutes a new movement by the president of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in response to criticism over setbacks in the EU vaccination strategy and the general shortage of doses. Von der Leyen has boasted that the portfolio of vaccines negotiated centrally from Brussels already includes up to 2.6 trillion doses.
“Today we are guaranteeing an additional 300 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by Moderna, which is already being used for vaccination in the EU. This brings us closer to our great goal: ensure that all Europeans have access to safe and effective vaccines as soon as possible“, Said the president in a statement.
But nevertheless, vaccine shortages will continue until at least the second quarter of the year. The new doses contracted with Moderna and Pfizer will not begin to arrive until then. And the Janssen injection, which has just requested authorization from the EMA, will not be available until mid-March. The next vaccines to be approved are Novavax and Curevac.
The main problem for the EU remains the flagrant breach of contract by AstraZeneca, which promised 100 million doses for the first quarter of the year but will only deliver 40 million. The pharmaceutical company still does not clarify its supply schedule for the next few quarters.