The House finance committee met on Monday to discuss a supplementary budget that would include additional funds to buy more COVID vaccines but also pay fines for fewer orders due to low demand.
Lawmakers on the finance committee discussed a €361 million supplementary budget for 2023, which includes €15 million for the purchase of COVID vaccines and medicines.
According to Health Ministry representative Yiannis Gregoriou, €1.2 million has already been spent buying vaccines for this year while more jabs from BioNTech worth 3.1 million were expected before the year is out.
The initiative began after member states, including Cyprus, submitted requests to cut down on the number of doses EU capitals had promised to buy, citing oversupply coupled with low demand
Earlier this year a mega-contract to buy 1.1 billion doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines was reportedly amended during secretive meetings in Brussels, after the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority led negotiations to reduce the number of vaccine deliveries from the US pharmaceutical giant.
The initiative began after member states, including Cyprus, submitted requests to cut down on the number of doses EU capitals had promised to buy, citing oversupply coupled with low demand.
No details are known about the amended contract but according to Politico, which cited sources saying the new terms included the new vaccine quantities “whittled down from 450 million vaccine doses due to be delivered this year to 260 million doses spread out over the course of four years,”
But the amendment also came at a cost for EU member states, which have to pay a fee for failing to fulfill the initial promised purchases.
According to local media, Nicosia will have to pay Pfizer €3.4 million in fees based on the number of canceled vaccine deliveries.
Gregoriou said Nicosia was contractually obligated to buy a total of 900,000 doses in 2023 but this changed after EU initiatives called for an amendment after critics called for more transparency
The Cypriot official told the committee that if the government decides to buy more doses in the future, referring to the four year period in the new contract, Nicosia would only need to pay the difference between the initial cost and paid cancelation fees.