According to Reuters, the European Union (EU) and drug makers Pfizer and BioNTech have reached an agreement to amend the contract for the supply of COVID-19 vaccines. As part of the agreement, the number of vaccines the EU must procure has been reduced and a new delivery deadline of 2026 has been set.
Negotiations to amend the contract have been underway for several months in light of the global oversupply of doses of COVID-19 vaccines and low demand for boosters. Some European countries have even destroyed surplus vaccines.
According to EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides, the amended contract will better meet the needs of states. The European Commission reported that some member states have opted out of such changes and will continue to abide by the original contract.
Based on a deal signed in 2021, the EU committed to procure 900 million doses of vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech, with an option for an additional 900 million by the end of 2023. However, about half of the first batch of vaccines - 900 million doses - have not yet been delivered due to a decline in vaccine demand last year. The contract changes cut the number of remaining doses the EU has to purchase by about a third.