There are false reports in some media that “the government allegedly did not order the full amount of BioNTech and Pfizer vaccines because they are too expensive”
The details are as follows. The strategy on covid-19 vaccines was published by the European Commission (EC) in June 2020. The EC Steering Committee, which included representatives of the Member States and the European Commission, met at least once a week from June 18th onwards. Member States did not start signing contracts until the EC signed an umbrella contract with manufacturers of promising vaccines against COVID-19 on the supply of their vaccines to the EU market, once they would obtain a marketing authorisation from the European Medicines Agency (hereinafter EMA).
To date, the EC has signed contracts with six COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers: Astra/Zeneca, Sanofi-GSK, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV (or J&J), BioNtech/Pfizer, CureVac, and Moderna. Negotiations are currently underway between the EC and the seventh manufacturer NovaVax for the signing of a contract. In August 2020, no Member State had yet signed a contract to purchase a vaccine against COVID-19 with a vaccine manufacturer.
Due to the delay in the work with the manufacturer Sanofi/GSK, the contract with the EU Member States was not signed, despite the fact that it had already signed a contract with the EC. As the umbrella contract between the EC and the manufacturer Novavax has not yet been signed, consequently there is no contract for the supply of the vaccine to Slovenia.
In the first phase, Slovenia took a full advantage of the possibility of purchasing a contractual quantity of BioNtech/Pfizer vaccine in the pro rata share. However, in the autumn, counting on the Astra/Zeneca vaccine, which, at the time was the longest in terms of technological development and was supposed be on the market at the end of November 2020, they did not opt for the option to order.
Thus, to date, Slovenia has secured 936,000 doses from the first contract, 912,000 from the contract on the first additional quantity, and they are still waiting for a contract for a new additional quantity of 410,700 doses of vaccine from the manufacturer BioNtech/Pfizer.
“We used all our pro rata possibilities, except for two initial option orders (Moderna and BioNtech/Pfizer), counting on the almost forthcoming deliveries of Astra/Zeneca vaccine at the end of December 2020 or the beginning of January,” the Ministry wrote. Slovenia took advantage of all contractual options, but not the entire option with the previously mentioned two manufacturers.
“However, it should be emphasised that Slovenia subsequently received confirmation of BioNtech/Pfizer’s additional offer to an extent that exceeds the aforementioned shortcoming at the same manufacturer. The same applies to Moderna, where we expect the final confirmation of this order,” the Ministry added.
Contracts with suppliers are not public due to business interest.
The basic contracts between the EC and producers set approximate delivery deadlines by quarters and the quantities to be delivered within these deadlines. Slovenia is interested in all doses of vaccines if other Member States do not want them.