According to people with knowledge of the situation, Pfizer Inc. has agreed to extend its COVID-19 vaccination contract with the European Union from 2023 to 2026, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday. According to the report, the manufacturer has offered to delay the distribution of the shots and reduce the amount of doses being delivered by 40%.
According to the updated terms, Pfizer is demanding payment for doses that were ordered but were never produced, according to an FT report. Stella Kyriakides, the European Union’s commissioner for health, stated in a statement, “Working together we have achieved a significant reduction of doses, an extension of our contract in time far beyond 2023, and security of supply in case more doses are needed.”
“If we want to modify vaccines deliveries, we need a deal,” Kyriakides added. According to the report, the new terms were revealed to the member nations’ health ministers in a private meeting. Four-member states, including Poland, opposed them.
Bulgaria’s acting health minister, Assen Medzhidiev, stated that his nation, along with Poland, Hungary, and Lithuania, opposes the proposed agreement on surplus vaccines. The proposed deal, in its current form, would not be supported by other EU members, Medzhidiev continued.
Given the dire situation of vaccine overstock in Bulgaria and the unwarranted financial burden for items that are meant for destruction, the proposed Pfizer change to the Pfizer agreement is categorically unacceptable to us, according to Medzhidiev.
“We call on the Commission to return to the negotiating table, taking fully into account the mandate given. Until a solution is found, all the deliveries must be stopped,” he said. A request for comment from Pfizer was not immediately complied with.
In January, Reuters published a story on the discussions taking place in Brussels between Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech in the midst of a global COVID-19 shot shortage, with Europe having a particularly large excess supply. The idea of Pfizer reducing the up to 500 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine that the EU has agreed to purchase this year in exchange for a higher price was discussed.