Reaction to news that EU discarded at least 215 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Published: 18th December 2023

Responding to news that the EU has discarded at least 215 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, Piotr Kolczyński, EU Health Policy Advisor at the People’s Vaccine Alliance and Oxfam, said:

“This is further proof that the EU wasted millions of its COVID-19 vaccines, hoarded early in the pandemic, as it locked poorer countries out of access. The appalling waste in the world’s pandemic response was disastrous. Handing exclusive rights to publicly-funded vaccines and medicines to just a few companies simply does not work - for rich countries or poorer ones. 

“The EU pumped unprecedented public funding into COVID-19 vaccines with no strings attached to ensure universal access. Yet, instead of learning from its mistakes, public funding conditionalities have been deleted from the draft Pandemic Agreement - and the EU is now trying to remove the remaining transparency and equity measures too. 

“Despite considering a significant reform to rein in pharmaceutical waste and profiteering within its borders, the EU fails to support similar efforts on the global stage. It is one rule for the EU and another for everyone else.”

Notes to editors

Politico revealed that the EU discarded between 215 million and 312 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, the equivalent of €4 billion euros.

The EU is arguing for one approach to access to medicines domestically and another one internationally.

MEPs have expressed their concern about the EU’s negotiating position in a letter to the European Council and Commission.

The EU’s latest proposed Pandemic Agreement text suggests removing transparency and equity measures.

Contact information

Joe Karp-Sawey People’s Vaccine Alliance WhatsApp: +44 7428 985985 

Jade Tenwick I Oxfam | | mobile +32 473 562260