European Commission stocks up on vaccines for next stage of the pandemic

Brussels, May 20 (EFE).- The European Commission has expressed “cautious optimism” regarding the evolution of Covid-19 rates in the EU and its vaccine rollout, as it prepares for a new phase of the pandemic with new vaccines, medicines, and doses for minors.

The EU confirmed Thursday that travelers from outside the bloc will be allowed to cross borders if vaccinated with WHO-approved jabs, which includes Chinese-made Sinopharm, although final provisions are up to member states, since authority over border management remains at the national level.

“We can look ahead with more optimism and confidence” said European Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides, after holding an informal videoconference with EU health ministers.

The EC recently secured 900 million new Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses, with the option to buy an additional 900 million.

The contract specifies the doses could be adapted to respond to new variants, and they will be delivered between 2021 and 2023.

It also requires vaccine production to be based in the EU, and essential components to be sourced from member states.

A share of the doses will be donated to lower and middle-income countries.

The Commission hopes to apply similar conditions to future contracts for Covid-19 vaccines with other pharmaceutical companies.

Hungary has declined to participate in the EU-wide contract, according to the commissioner.

The country’s vaccination rate is the highest in the EU, with 56% of its adults immunized, having used Russian and Chinese vaccines not authorized by EU regulators.

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