Coronavirus: the European Commission expects the first vaccines by the end of the year

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By mid-April, doses would be widely available.

Lhe European Commission expects member states to have the first doses of the covid-19 vaccine by the end of the year, Health and Safety Directorate-General No. 2 said on Monday. food, Sandra Gallina, before a committee of the European Parliament.

“Maybe already in November, say December, by the end of the year we will start having the first doses,” said the deputy general manager.

By mid-April, doses would be widely available.

The Commission negotiates on behalf of the Member States with pharmaceutical companies pre-contracts for the purchase of vaccines. A first agreement was signed for 300 million doses, with an additional purchase option of 100 million doses, with the AstraZeneca group. Negotiations are also completed with Sanofi-GSK, Johnson & Johnson, CureVac and Moderna. Discussions are underway with BioNtech.

The vaccines from AstraZeneca, Moderna and BioNtech will be the first to hit the market, says Gallina. These companies have undertaken to transmit the necessary data to the European Agency, whose opinion is awaited to proceed with the placing on the market.

The rights of patients will be respected, assured the Deputy Director General.

“We haven’t changed a word of the law. Businesses are totally responsible. Citizens will still be able to go to court to defend their rights. The system remains the same. We would be crazy to change that in the middle of the pandemic, ”she explained, adding that final responsibility remained with the manufacturer.

Some MPs have complained about the lack of transparency. It thus appeared that one of the members of the European negotiating team worked a few years ago in the pharmaceutical sector. Ms Gallina acknowledged that efforts should be made on this point but did not want to name names.

“They could be put under pressure and we do not want that in the context of an adjudication”, she noted before recalling that the negotiators had to sign a declaration on conflicts of interest and that the Member States were involved in the whole procedure.

In exchange for the right to purchase, the European Commission pays advances to pharmaceutical companies to cover part of the risks associated with the investment and to increase production capacity. But when the vaccine is available, it is the Member States who will have to buy the doses and determine the target groups for vaccination.

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