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Finland to take part in joint EU procurement of coronavirus vaccines

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 21.8.2020 13.09
Press release 191/2020

Finland has decided to take part in the joint EU agreement to purchase coronavirus vaccines. Finland informed the European Commission of its decision on 21 August.

On 14 August, the Commission announced that it had reached its first agreement with the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to purchase a potential coronavirus vaccine. This agreement is secret, as are the documents related to the notification of Finland’s involvement. The Commission is responsible for providing information on the agreements.

Still a long way from the agreement to vaccinating the population

Finland’s decision to join the agreement is the first step on the long road toward finding a safe and effective vaccine for the entire population. Finland’s goal is to protect the entire population with vaccines once they become available. 

The use of the vaccines covered by the joint EU purchase agreement will be decided on separately once their safety and effectiveness have been assessed and each product has been authorised for use in Europe. Marketing authorisations are issued by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Finland is prepared to take part in future agreements negotiated by the Commission with several different vaccine manufacturers, with a view to obtaining vaccines that utilise a variety of technological solutions. 

This way, Finland aims to manage the potential risks that may arise if one of the new vaccines proves ineffective or if the pharmaceutical authorities assess that the adverse effects of a vaccine candidate outweigh the benefits to be achieved. 

Finland has also expressed its interest in participating in COVAX, an international mechanism working to ensure equitable access to vaccines. The final decision on participation in this collaboration will be made by 31 August 2020.

Working to develop vaccines at a vigorous pace

Based on the information currently available, halting the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) will not be possible without large-scale vaccination of the population. However, safe and effective vaccines against the virus are not yet available, as all of the vaccine candidates are still in the development and testing phase. 

Despite this, agreements are already being made at the development stage in order to finance research on vaccines and build the production capacity needed to ensure the availability of successful vaccines as quickly as possible. Intense research on the development of vaccines and active efforts to strengthen production capacity are continuing around the world. In Finland, development work is being carried out on two vaccine candidates.

Worldwide, more than 200 vaccine candidates of seven different types are being developed also using new technologies. Efforts are being made worldwide to speed up the development and production of coronavirus vaccines. 

The development of a safe and effective vaccine usually takes several years, and only some vaccine candidates prove successful. The risks of failure are high, and it is therefore likely that a large proportion of the vaccines currently being developed will not receive marketing authorisation.  

Inquiries:

Päivi Sillanaukee, Director General, [email protected]
Kirsi Varhila, Permanent Secretary, [email protected]m.fi