05 June 2020
The European Union is preparing to use an emergency 2.4-billion- euro ($2.7 billion) fund to make advance purchases of promising vaccines against the new coronavirus, EU officials told Reuters.
The move was discussed at a meeting of EU ambassadors after Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands said they were speeding up negotiations with pharmaceutical companies to secure access to vaccines currently under development.
The EU rainy-day fund, known as the Emergency Support Instrument (ESI), would also be used to increase vaccine production capacity in Europe and offer liability insurance to pharmaceutical companies, officials said, confirming a Reuters report in May.
An EU official said it was necessary to do as the United States was doing, even if this meant losing money as many of the vaccines under development are unlikely to be eventually successful.
The bloc is ready to take higher financial risks as it fears not otherwise having rapid access to a vaccine.
The ESI fund is run by the European Commission, the EU executive arm, which acts on behalf of the 27 EU states.
The EU is also worried that not enough doses might be available to rapidly vaccinate its population of nearly 450 million if a vaccine against the new coronavirus is developed.
It is working on a vaccination strategy to give priority to the people most in need, like medics, nurses and the elderly.Print
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