Estonia to join Valneva covid-19 vaccine pre-purchase agreement

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Estonia will join the EU pre-purchase agreement with vaccine manufacturer Valneva for an initial 10,000 doses of vaccine which is expected to be ready next year.

On Tuesday, the government approved a proposal submitted by Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center).

Estonia will purchase 10,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Valneva with the opportunity to later acquire additional doses, if needed, spokespeople for the Ministry of Social Affairs told BNS.

"The vaccine producer Valneva intends to have its COVID-19 vaccine authorized for sale in the European Union at the start of 2022. Valneva is developing a vaccine based on inactivated COVID-19 virus. This technology has been used for developing vaccines for a long time," Kiik said.

"The main application we see for this vaccine is as a so-called booster dose; however, the opportunity to choose a vaccine based on this technology may also help sway towards vaccination people who are skeptical of vaccines based on new technologies. We also cannot rule out the possibility of facing new virus variants in the near future, against which a combination of mRNA vaccines and those based on some other technology may prove more efficient," Kiik said.

In order to reduce risks resulting from possible disruptions in vaccine production or deliveries, Estonia has joined pre-purchase agreements with several vaccine producers. There are altogether eight vaccines in the European Union's shared vaccine portfolio, which are developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, CureVac, Sanofi, Novavax and Valneva. 

Estonia has so far joined five pre-purchase agreements in the joint EU procurement with Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV and CureVac.

Through agreements with all eight vaccine manufacturers, Estonia is able to get altogether 4,683,894 doses for a total of 2,735,845 people. These doses can be expected to be delivered to Estonia in 2021 and 2022.

The government in May 2021 also decided to join a new longer-term agreement with Pfizer/BioNTech enabling Estonia to purchase an additional 2.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in 2022-2024.

Last week, the government decided that in order to contribute to stopping the global COVID-19 pandemic, Estonia is to donate 900,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to states in need of assistance. Of the said amount, 400,000 doses will be donated through the global COVAX initiative while 500,000 doses will be distributed to Eastern Partnership states.

The aim of vaccination against COVID-19 is to protect at-risk groups who are more prone to contracting the infection or in whom the disease may take a more aggressive course, prevent and reduce the numbers of cases of illness and death caused by COVID-19, reduce the burden on the healthcare system and the economy and ensure the normal functioning of society. 

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Editor: Helen Wright

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