In a letter seen by POLITICO, a group of ten Eastern European nations has requested the European Commission to renegotiate coronavirus vaccination agreements, blaming an overabundance of doses and the implication of protecting public finances.
Another demand made in the letter was that there should be a provision for contract cancelation, “if they are no longer required from an epidemiological and health stance.” In other instances, it should be feasible to reduce the number of doses ordered so that they better reflect the demand for vaccines.
The letter directed to EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides was dispatched Friday night. Poland organized the effort, which was also signed by Slovenia, Slovakia, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Estonia, Croatia, and Bulgaria.
Eastern European nations have complained that existing coronavirus vaccine agreements signed during the epidemic’s height when the EU was under intense public pressure to get vaccines, are forcing them to purchase excess doses that are now unnecessary.
The Commission reserved four billion doses of coronavirus vaccines, almost ten times the EU’s population. As of February, the Commission has received 1.3 billion doses.
“Despite indications that the epidemic is declining and that adequate vaccination levels have been achieved throughout the EU, agreements with producers of vaccine stipulate for the supply of stockpiles of vaccines far exceeding the member states’ requirements and capacity to assimilate them,” reads part of the letter.
The nations that put their pen on the letter stated that the vaccines will likely expire without being used owing to the difficulties facing vaccine donations, which is “a trash of public funds that lacks any justification.”
According to a group of Eastern European nations, the Commission’s attempts to rework the contracts in order to better space deliveries don’t go far enough. The nations noted the need to modify all elements of the contracts that govern vaccine acquisitions.
The letter also raises the issue of vaccines being shipped near their expiration dates, which has previously been touched upon by the Baltic nations, and requests for a shelf-life minimum.
Other priorities include ensuring that vaccines are effective against the most prevalent circulating variants and encouraging the European Union’s Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority to buy vaccines not given out in order to create a common supply while also allowing for donations to other nations.