Monkeypox: The European Union places its first bulk orders for vaccines

Monkeypox: The European Union places its first bulk orders for vaccines

“This will be a significant asset to be able to respond earlier and better to future health threats,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on September 15, 2021. The next day, the European Preparedness and Response Authority in the case of Health Emergency (HERA) was born and a cornerstone of the “Europe of Health” that seemed a necessity in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic was laid. This new agency, operational since early 2022 and created within the Commission and endowed with a budget of €6 billion over five years, is already having to prove itself as monkeypox spreads across the old continent.

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Following the example of the American Barda (Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority), whose effectiveness against Covid-19 was envied by the Twenty-Seven, HERA must anticipate health crises and enable action at European level to counter them. It is about continuing the reflexes adopted at work to face the coronavirus together, to buy vaccines together and to share them fairly. This solidarity exercise has been the pride of the European Union (EU), which has made it possible to deliver 1.7 billion doses to European citizens, not without difficulties, particularly given the scale of the crisis and the fact that Member States are used to it exclusively Manage health at the national level.

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Since June, HERA has therefore signed two contracts to purchase around 160,000 doses of the third-generation monkeypox vaccine called Jynneos from the Danish company Bavarian Nordic, the only manufacturer. In the case of anti-Covid-19 vaccines, the bill was footed by the Twenty-Seven when the Commission was in charge of negotiating the contracts. This time, the European executive funded the purchase of the cans from the Community budget, more specifically from the EU4Health program, and donated them to the 26 European countries (24 Member States plus Iceland and Norway) who have expressed a wish to do so. This “proves for the first time the rapid and collective response that a European Health Union can offer,” Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said on 14 June.

“Limited Production Capacity”

More than 60,000 doses have already reached several Member States, starting with Spain, which was the country hardest hit by the epidemic in June. The rest of the 160,000 doses are expected to be delivered in the coming days and weeks. If HERA is boasting of a first success, these numbers protecting 450 million Europeans may seem ridiculous. “It is important to understand the market conditions surrounding this purchase,” defended a Commission source. “This vaccine is the only one available on the market. It is manufactured by a single company with limited production capacity and contractual commitments already in place. »

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