The Slovenia Times

Pfizer, Moderna optional offers refused due to delivery timeline, says ministry

Health & MedicinePolitics

Ljubljana - Slovenia did not opt for an optional offer by the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines as part of joint EU purchasing because the deliveries were expected as late as in the second half of 2021, the Health Ministry told the STA on Sunday. The country expressed interest in acquiring vaccine volumes on a pro rata basis, it added.

Until 15 March, Slovenia had received 333,000 vaccine doses, the ministry said in a press release, noting that the European Commission signed contracts with vaccine producers as part of the joint EU procurement on behalf of EU member states, whereas the latter merely entered into vaccine delivery contracts.

The member states decide on the amount of vaccine doses by a particular producer; they can either opt for a volume based on the pro rata system or above or below this rate.

As vaccines of various producers varied in price, EU countries made different decisions, the release reads.

"When these decisions were taken, it was not clear which vaccine would be approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), leading to a state of great uncertainty," said the ministry, adding that it deemed it safest at the time to express interest in purchasing "all contractual volumes of vaccines" as based on the pro rata system.

However, Slovenia "did not decide on purchasing optional offers by BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna due to their delivery timeline".

"Additional orders were guaranteed already in the first half of the year, so Slovenia ordered more of these vaccines than its pro rata volume."

When Slovenia was urged to decide on the optional offers, the AstraZeneca vaccine, six times cheaper than Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, was expected to arrive in considerably greater quantities. After it became clear that will not be the case, Slovenia opted for purchasing additional supplies by both Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna producers in early January, the ministry explained.

According to Vaccine Tracker data, the number of vaccine doses distributed to Slovenia per hundred residents currently stands at 18.8, a similar figure as in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Poland.

The ministry signed a contract for the delivery of 1,404,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on 20 October 2020. By 15 March, 88,800 doses of the vaccine had been received.

The first contract with Pfizer/BioNTech was signed on 10 December 2020 for a delivery of some 924,000 jabs, whereas an additional contract (913,000 doses) was signed on 4 March 2021. The third is in the works and envisages roughly 411,000 doses.

The estimated total number of Pfizer/BioNTech doses received by Slovenia this year is thus 2,248,000. Until 15 March, 215,475 jabs had already arrived.

The first contract with Moderna was signed on 21 December 2020 for a delivery of some 370,000 doses, whereas the second (901,000 doses) was signed on 17 March 2021.

The estimated total number of Moderna doses received by Slovenia this year is thus 1,271,000. Until 15 March, 28,800 doses of the vaccine had arrived.

Moreover, the ministry entered into a contract with Janssen Pharmaceutica on 21 December 2020 to acquire some 939,000 doses. The first deliveries are expected in the second half of April.

An additional delivery contract was signed on 22 January 2021 with CureVacAG (1,040,000 jabs). Since the producer's vaccine has not yet been green-lit by the EMA, the deadline for the first delivery is not yet clear.

Vaccine Tracker data also show that the cumulative uptake of the first vaccine dose in Slovenia is 10.1% and of the second dose 4.9%.


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