Parliamentary questions
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11 January 2021
Question for oral answer  O-000001/2021
to the Commission
Rule 136
Marco Zanni, Jörg Meuthen, Jérôme Rivière
on behalf of the ID Group
 Subject: Rationale of certain decisions with regard to vaccines against COVID‑19 under the EU vaccines strategy

On 17 June 2020, the Commission presented an EU vaccines strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing and deployment of vaccines against COVID-19, in order to enable people in the EU to be vaccinated as early as possible if they so wish. During summer and autumn 2020, the Commission took several decisions with regard to vaccines that require further explanation:

1. The AstraZeneca vaccine was the first COVID‑19 vaccine for which the Commission reached an agreement with a supplier, having been concluded on 14 August 2020. The vaccine is supposedly one of the cheapest around. Nonetheless, in spite of the early deal, the European Medicines Agency seems to have been delaying the approval process. Can the Commission explain why the approval of AstraZeneca’s more conventional vaccine is taking more time than the approval of mRNA vaccines, especially in the light of its early approval in the UK in December 2020?

2. With regard to the mRNA vaccines of BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna, the Commission was rather late in concluding contracts (11 and 25 November 2020 respectively). Can it explain why it was not able to conclude contracts with the suppliers earlier than November, although experts had already said that mRNA vaccines were considered to be the most promising in the summer?

3. Has the Commission been approached, pressured or lobbied in any way by the French Government with regard to the Sanofi-GSK vaccine contract concluded in September, or by any Member State government, e.g. with the aim of limiting spending on anti‑COVID‑19 vaccine procurements?

4. Can the Commission clarify as of when (which day) and with which manufacturers Member States are allowed to opt out from the obligation not to negotiate separately laid down in Article 7 of Commission Decision C(2020)4192?

5. Has the Commission carried out a study comparing the economic costs of a day of lockdown with the cost of enabling earlier vaccination?

Submitted: 11/01/2021

Lapses: 12/04/2021

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