Cyprus and another 14 EU member states have signed framework contracts with the pharmaceutical company Sequrus for the production and supply of pandemic influenza vaccines, signalling a new era to access to the flu vaccine.
The agreement was announced by the European Commission under the “EU Joint Procurement Agreement to procure medical countermeasures”.
Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis said: “Today’s signature signals a new era in the access of EU citizens to pandemic influenza vaccines. Member States signing the contracts can rest assured that their citizens will have access to vaccines in case of an influenza pandemic at the best price available. This is one additional example where acting together we get stronger and achieve more.”
In the event of an influenza pandemic, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain representing around half of the EU population, and the European Commission will receive influenza vaccines thanks to the contracts concluded under the Joint Procurement Agreement.
This mechanism aims at improving Member States’ preparedness to mitigate serious cross-border threats to health, ensuring equitable access to all participating Member States and guaranteeing more balanced prices for the Member States in their joint negotiations with pharmaceutical companies on specific medical countermeasures.
Negotiations with another pharmaceutical company are ongoing in view of signing a second round of contracts, which will maximise the vaccine coverage according to the specific needs of the participating Member States and will further improve their preparedness for the next pandemic.
This winter 17 people have died of the flu in Cyprus, with ministry officials saying that many of the deaths may have been avoided had the patients been vaccinated.
It was forced to import additional quantities after stocks ran low earlier this year as the number of flu cases spiked.