The EU’s health ministers’ meeting on Friday stressed the need to jointly invest in a coronavirus vaccine.

“We have to act fast and we have to invest up-front in vaccine development to ensure that vaccines are being produced at the scale required as early as possible,” said Stella Kyriakides, EU commissioner for health and food safety.

“This is why we will propose a common EU approach to securing vaccine supplies for member states,” she added.

Although the numbers are improving in Europe, the pandemic is not over yet, said the commissioner, adding: “Continued vigilance is a must, and we must be ready to roll back the relaxation of measures if needed.”

Only the vaccine will bring the real exit strategy from the crisis, she said.

“And this is why, next week, we will be presenting an EU Strategy for COVID-19 vaccines,” she added.

Kyriakides said EU member states should act together at a time when the world is taking steps to get access to a future vaccine.

“Working together we will have the benefit of scale, bringing the demand of almost 500 million citizens, and the leverage of the EU budget. Doing this together will be faster, easier and cheaper for us all,” she added.

“Part of our proposal is to agree Advance Purchase Agreements with vaccine producers, giving the Member States the right to buy a given number of vaccine doses for a certain price, as and when a vaccine becomes available. To fund such agreements up-front, we will use the Emergency Support Instrument,” she said.

Member states will decide which companies will work within the coming days, according to the commissioner.

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