MEPs are to be allowed to review Covid vaccine procurement contracts amid transparency concerns.
The European Commission (EC) has set up a reading room and so far one contract is available – with CureVac – but more will be pending the agreement of pharmaceutical companies.
The move comes as MEPs on the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee quizzed Sandra Gallina, the EC’s lead negotiator on vaccine contracts, and called for more clarity.
Gallina said: “We are starting with one contract because that company has agreed to disclose the contract. I think it’s a very important step. It’s a beginning because I hope the companies will agree little by little to show all the contracts.”
There have been reports that Germany and other member states have signed their own contracts to obtain vaccines amid concerns the EC has not bought enough, but “the commission confirmed that it is not aware of any such alleged contracts,” said the European Parliament.
“Through the Joint Procurement Agreement, the EU has priority to deliver vaccines, which will then be distributed to member states on a pro-rata basis.”
Gallina defended the EC’s strategy and told MEPs the bulk of vaccines would arrive from April, as agreed with suppliers.
“We went really far with quantities and bought all that could be bought,” she said.
The EC has so far secured more than 2bn doses of around half a dozen different vaccines.
The UK had talks with the EU over joint procurement of vaccines but decided not to go ahead with such a scheme because it would not have had a say over vaccine choice or contract terms.
In March last year the EU set up joint procurement of personal protective equipment.
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