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Parliamentary questions
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11 June 2021
Answer given by Ms Kyriakides
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-001166/2021

Viruses constantly change through mutation, making the emergence of new variants a potential occurrence. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is no exception and a diversification of this virus over past months has been seen.

The Commission, together with the scientific community, is closely monitoring the situation, and how well COVID-19 vaccines can protect people against COVID-19 caused by any new variants. The European Medicines Agency is in close contact with vaccine developers who continue to carry out trials and additional studies to evaluate protection of their vaccines against new variants of the virus.

The Commission has just approved a contract for guaranteed 900 million doses (plus 900 million optional doses) with BioNTech/Pfizer for 2021-2024. This contract will secure the doses needed for booster shots. It will also provide vaccines adapted to variants escaping the ones already available and it should enable to vaccinate — if needed, and if safe — children and adolescents. In line with the portfolio approach, other contracts and vaccine technologies will follow.

Learning from the contracts signed so far, close attention was paid to the need to ensure adequate supplies for the EU from EU based manufactures, European supply chains, manufacturing capacities, technological requirements and speed of delivery of an approved vaccine.

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