European states are preparing to exert pressure on the European Commission to renegotiate coronavirus vaccination contracts.

Following an informal meeting of health ministers from a number of EU nations on Wednesday, Polish authorities are preparing a letter to the European Commission requesting that the existing coronavirus vaccine procurement agreements be redrawn.
According to a Slovak ambassador, the government intends to support Poland’s efforts. The Bulgarian health ministry expressed worry over the present vaccination contract scenario in a public statement on Thursday.
“The Ministry of Health believes that states should be able to purchase only amounts they really need,” reads the Bulgarian ministry statement, which says that the current vaccine contract framework “is not working.” The influx of refugees from Ukraine had put additional pressure on the country’s budget, which could be offset “by reducing the quantities of vaccines.”
Last month, Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski stated that his government will refuse to pay for and accept more doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine. As the pandemic situation improved, immunizations were less necessary. He also mentioned the financial pressures brought on by the flood of millions of migrants escaping Ukraine’s war.
Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia have requested that the Commission rework the contracts to allow supplies to be rescheduled to a period when they are more likely to be needed, or to give the option of substituting vaccine deliveries with other medical items. They emphasised that the surplus of vaccinations was placing strain on the countries’ storage and distribution networks, as well as having “budgetary repercussions.”
Up to 4.2 billion doses of coronavirus vaccination have been secured by the Commission, over 10 times the EU’s population. So far, 1.3 billion of them have been delivered. To maintain strong antibody protection, many booster doses are required. Vaccine developers are working on variant-specific vaccinations in anticipation for the autumn, in case the pandemic’s seasonal surges in incidence from the previous two years repeat itself.
Because of the levelling down of vaccination campaigns and the improving pandemic situation, as well as the massive increase in vaccine production capacity over the last two years, vaccine doses occasionally expire unused and are discarded. According to the non-profit People’s Vaccine Alliance, the EU had to discard 55 million doses of COVID vaccine by February.
The videoconference on Wednesday, organized by Poland, was attended by officials from Romania, Denmark, Slovakia, Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Finland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Czech Republic, Lithuania and Bulgaria, an EU diplomat said. However, attendance doesn’t necessarily imply support for the proposal.
“Most of the delegates present noted comparable concerns related vaccination agreements to those outlined by Poland,” a spokesman for the Polish health ministry said, endorsing the concept of a joint letter. Next week, the letter should be ready for more countries to sign.

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