According to an EU official involved in the negotiations to secure COVID-19 vaccines for the bloc, the European Union could potentially pay more than $10 billion to secure hundreds of millions of doses of vaccine candidates developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and CureVac.
The EU has agreed to pay $18.34 (15.50 euros) per dose for the COVID-19 vaccine candidate being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, said the official.
For 200 millions doses, the overall price comes to $3.7 billion (3.1 billion euros); this figure further rises to 4.65 billion euros if the EU chooses to exercise its option to purchase another 100 million doses, as part of the deal, said the source.
This previously undisclosed pricing information confirms that the bloc is paying less per dose than the United States for an initial supply of that vaccine.
Incidentally, the deal also includes an insurance for EU countries, if the companies divert doses to the United States, said the official on the condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the matter. In such a scenario, EU states would be reimbursed 50% of the money they had paid, said the source. This clause was requested by the EU, added the source despite the fact companies are planning to produce the vaccine doses for Europe in Belgium and Germany.
Earlier this week, the EU struck a deal with CureVac to secure the supply of up to 405 million doses, of which 180 million are optional.
CureVac has committed to start deliveries by the end of March 2021. It is to be seen whether the additional 180 million doses would cost 10 or 12 euros each. Under the 10-euro price, though, the bloc would pay 4.05 billion euros for 405 million doses.
A spokesman for the European Commission declined comment.
BioNTech and CureVac declined comment.
U.S. drugmaker Pfizer said it and BioNTech were using a tiered pricing formula based on volume and delivery dates and that the EU deal represented the largest initial order of its vaccine candidate to date.
“We are not disclosing further details of this agreement,” said Pfizer.
The bloc has made a non-refundable down payment down payment to Pfizer-BioNTech in order to secure the supply of their vaccine candidate. This deposit amount has yet to be disclosed officially. According to the official, the EU had paid 700 million euros to the companies.
Incidentally, the agreed price of 15.50 euros per dose would only be paid by those European governments willing to buy the shot, and only if it is approved by the EU regulator as safe and effective.