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2021.01.13 17:30

Lithuania opts for extra Pfizer vaccine shots after Moderna ups prices

BNS2021.01.13 17:30

On Wednesday, the Lithuanian government decided to purchase extra doses of the Pfizer vaccine and has rejected the European Commission’s proposal to buy another 310,000 doses of Moderna’s vaccine.

“Moderna is increasing the price [of its vaccine] and does not want to distribute the vaccine on the same conditions. [...] Therefore, our task group has come up with a proposal [...] not to purchase these extra doses,” Health Minister Arūnas Dulkys told the cabinet.

The European Commission had agreed with BioNTech and Pfizer on the purchase of an additional 200 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, Dulkys said. According to the ministry’s estimations, Lithuania would get an extra 1.24 million doses on a pro rata basis.

Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė said that the predecessor government led by Saulius Skvernelis had ruled against purchasing extra doses of Moderna’s vaccine and the current cabinet “endorsed” this decision “once again”.

Read more: Who will get vaccinated in Lithuania and when

Meanwhile, extra doses of the Pfizer vaccine were being purchased because it was “the first” to be authorised for use in the European Union, Šimonytė told reporters, adding that we “have already started giving shots of this vaccine and the terms of its delivery are the most favourable compared to other currently existing vaccines”.

More than 27,000 people have already received the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine in Lithuania.

Both the Moderna and the Pfizer vaccines require two shots: a priming dose, followed by a booster shot. The interval between is 28 days for Moderna doses and 21 days for the Pfizer shots.

Lithuania has also expressed its wish to team up with other EU countries for the purchase of vaccines from AstraZeneca, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, Sanofi, and GSK, and CureVac. These manufacturers, however, have not yet been authorised to sell vaccines in the European Union.

Overall, Lithuania plans to purchase more than 8 million vaccine doses.