Brussels, Jan 7 (AFP/APP): The European Union will keep the details of its contracts with Covid-19 vaccine makers secret while negotiating with them, the bloc’s commissioner for health said Thursday.
“We are bound by the confidentiality clauses of the contract, and disclosure of any confidential information at this moment in time undermines the ongoing negotiations that we have with companies,” Stella Kyriakides told the European Parliament.
The European Commission has negotiated or is in the process of negotiating pre-purchase agreements with seven manufacturers of proven or potential Covid-19 vaccines.
Two of the vaccines, ones made by BioNTech/Pfizer and by Moderna, have been authorized for use in the EU, and the Commission hopes others will follow.
The bloc has already secured advance order contracts for two billion doses of those vaccines, enough for twice the EU’s population of 450 million given that most of the vaccines require two doses, to be administered weeks apart.
But a slow rollout in member countries, coupled with the secrecy obscuring the terms of the contracts, have contributed to the political pressure building against EU governments and the Commission.
Kyriakides said, however, that the confidentiality clauses would be respected for the time being. “When the time’s ready within the contractual constraints (we’ll) explore making information of these contracts available to nominated members of the Parliament with specific arrangements… once the sensitive ongoing negotiations are concluded,” she said.
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