Safe COVID-19 vaccines for Europeans

Vaccination against COVID-19 started on 27 December 2020 across the European Union, in a moment of unity.

A safe and effective vaccine is our lasting way out of the pandemic. The European Commission has been working tirelessly to secure doses of vaccines, and approved three COVID-19 vaccines, which were assessed as being safe and effective. Vaccines are being sent at the same time to all EU countries, under the same conditions.

For now, people in priority groups are vaccinated – elderly people or healthcare professionals. But soon there will be enough vaccines for the entire EU population.

Once enough people are vaccinated, we will be able to get our normal lives back, gradually.

Securing doses of future vaccines

The European Commission has been negotiating intensely to build a diversified portfolio of vaccines for EU citizens at fair prices. Contracts have been concluded with 6 promising vaccine developers, securing a portfolio of more than 2.3 billion doses. The Commission has also concluded exploratory talks with Novavax with a view to purchasing up to 200 million doses, and with Valneva with a view to purchase up to 60 million doses.

The Commission has so far given 3 conditional marketing authorisations for the vaccines developed by BioNTech and PfizerModerna and AstraZeneca following EMA positive assessment of their safety and efficacy.

Objectives of the EU Vaccine Strategy

  • ensuring the quality, safety and efficacy of vaccines
  • securing timely access to vaccines for Member States and their population while leading the global solidarity effort
  • ensuring equitable and affordable access for all in the EU to an affordable vaccine as early as possible
  • making sure that preparations are made in EU countries regarding the roll-out of safe and effective vaccines, addressing transportation and deployment needs, and identifying priority groups which should gain access to vaccines first

The vaccine strategy should act as a reference point for Member States when formulating their national strategies.

Speeding up vaccination in the EU

On 19 January 2021, the European Commission adopted a Communication calling on Member States to speed up the roll out of vaccines across the EU. By March 2021, at least 80% of people over the age of 80, and 80% of health and social care professionals in every Member State should get vaccinated. By summer 2021, Member States should have vaccinated a minimum of 70% of the entire adult population.

  • 2.3 billion doses

CompanyType of vaccine

Number of doses

(needed per person)

Number of doses


BioNTech and PfizermRNA2 doses600 millionApproved
ModernamRNA2 doses160 millionApproved
CureVacmRNA2 doses405 millionDevelopment ongoing
AstraZenecaadenovirus2 doses400 millionApproved
Johnson & Johnson/Janssen Pharmaceuticalsadenovirus1 dose400 millionDevelopment ongoing
Sanofi-GSKprotein2 doses300 millionDevelopment ongoing
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