Brussels urges world to work for shared vaccine
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen urged rich countries to prepare to share any future coronavirus vaccine with their poorer neighbours, as she launched Brussels' pandemic strategy.
Ahead of an address to the European Parliament, the head of the EU executive Wednesday said member states would work together without "harmful competition" to find a vaccine -- and suggested other world powers do the same.
"We are working towards a global summit on the 27th of June," Von der Leyen said, referring to the second leg of an international fund raising effort that began with a May 4 videoconference and has so far seen pledges of more than $9 billion. "We will explore with our international partners, whether a significant number of countries would agree to pool resources for jointly reserving future vaccines from companies while at the same time making advance reservations for low and middle income countries," she said. "The high income countries would then act as an inclusive international buyers group".
Later, von der Leyen was to unveil an action plan that would see Brussels sign "advance purchase contracts" with vaccine producers, financed by the bloc's emergency aid instrument -- around 2.4 billion euros -- set up during the crisis.
World laboratories are racing to find a vaccine in record time -- perhaps in twelve to 18 months, compared to several years under normal circumstances -- and advance payment will allow them to invest in production capacity before even human clinical trials. This commitment would in turn give member states the right to purchase a certain number of doses at a fixed price once the vaccine is available, in return for the investment risk taken.