The price that the European Union will pay for each vaccine against covid-19 has been published by Belgian Secretary of State for the Budget, Eva De Bleeker. The minister would end up quickly removing the table posted on Twitter, but not in time to prevent Belgian newspaper HLN from taking a photo post. The point is that this information has been kept confidential, claiming that the European Commission is subject to a commercial confidentiality agreement that prevents its disclosure.
The Twitter post mentioned how much would be spent on each vaccine, by the European Union (EU) and Belgium. In Portugal 22 million doses are expected to be purchased and the government has announced spending of up to 200 million euros, but without specifying how much each dose costs from each of the six companies that have an agreement with the EU and which we receive doses of vaccines.
According to the image published by the minister, the EU will spend between 1.78 euros and 18 dollars per dose of vaccines. The list of six vaccines is distributed as follows:
Oxford / AstraZeneca: € 1.78 Johnson & Johnson: $ 8.50 (approx € 6.94) Sanofi / GSK: € 7.56 BioNTech / Pfizer: € 12 CureVac: € 10 Modern: $ 18 (approx € 14, 70)
The European Commission has reached an agreement with these six producers and is in negotiations for a seventh vaccine. Each member country then places its orders for each of the companies. Data already published indicated that the EU could spend more than 8 billion euros alone on doses to be ordered from Pfizer and CureVac.
Portugal has also announced the purchase of at least 22 million doses. Since most vaccines require two doses, this would be enough to immunize all Portuguese.
Some civil society groups have argued for the need to disclose the purchase prices of these vaccines because it is about using taxpayer money. However, the Commission specifies that the confidentiality of the market requested by companies is compulsory. Likewise, the Commission declined to comment on the Belgian Secretary of State’s blunder. “We are not going to comment on what happened in Belgium, but vaccine prices are confidential,” they told the HLN newspaper.
Data already published, by some sources linked to the negotiations, point, for example, to the fact that the EU pays less per dose than the United States, at least in this first phase of vaccination, according to Reuters in November.
According to the news published, the European Union has guaranteed the purchase of 300 million doses of the vaccine from Pfizer and an additional 160 million from Moderna, insufficient to cover its 450 million inhabitants. Although the exact cost of this operation is not yet known, the European Union is known to have approved the use of the Emergency Support Instrument to support the development and production of covid-19 vaccines. This fund has 750 million euros, including 11 million contributions from Portugal.