EU countries join forces to ensure people have access to a COVID-19 vaccine
Last week, the EU countries and the European Commission published a European strategy to ensure citizens have swift access to a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. The Danish Medicines Agency participates as representative of Denmark in a European steering board that will be coordinating the joint procurement of vaccines.
COVID-19 has already cost thousands of human lives in Europe with significant human suffering and economic costs. One of the important elements in the fight against COVID-19 is to ensure people have access to a vaccine once it has been developed, and Denmark is working together with the rest of the EU member states within the scope of a common strategy with the following objectives:
- Ensuring the quality, safety and efficacy of vaccines,
- Securing swift access to vaccines for all Danes and other EU nationals, and
- Ensuring equitable access to an affordable vaccine as early as possible.
Vaccine development is a complex and lengthy process that normally takes more than 10 years. However, as part of the joint action of all countries in the EU, the aim is to develop a vaccine within a timeframe of 12 to 18 months or earlier.
Securing a fair access to the vaccines
In order to support the pharmaceutical companies in the swift development and large-scale production of a vaccine, the European countries will jointly enter into agreements with individual vaccine manufacturers under which the EU will finance part of the costs associated with the development of a vaccine.
In return for this, the EU will have the right to buy a specified number of vaccine doses in a given timeframe through an advance agreement. This means that the funding provided will be considered as a down-payment on the vaccines that will actually be purchased by the member states. At the same time, the initiative will pool the resources of the EU countries to secure a fair access to the vaccines for everyone in the EU – including in lower-income countries.
The Danish Medicines Agency represents Denmark in a European steering board that will be coordinating the joint procurement of vaccines.