Poland wants vaccine contracts renegotiated

The Polish health minister has said that contracts for Covid-19 vaccines should be renegotiated, given the improvement in Europe's epidemic situation.

Adam Niedzielski made the call before a meeting of EU health ministers in Luxembourg on Tuesday.

"All of us know that the epidemic situation in Poland, and also in all Europe, is much better now, but the obligation to purchase the ordered vaccines does not change and deliveries remain at a very high level," he said.

"That is why we have suggested that these contracts should be modified," the minister added.

Niedzielski also said that Poland had been leading a group of 10 EU countries which have asked the European Commission to help renegotiate the contracts.

According to Niedzielski, Poland regards changes to the contracts as necessary due to the extraordinary circumstances related to the admission of Ukrainian citizens fleeing to Poland and the resulting high costs related to their healthcare.

The minister said that the funds proposed by the European Commission to help Poland take care of Ukrainian refugees "have not satisfied the needs."

Since February 24, when Russia invaded Ukraine, 4.04 million people have crossed the Polish-Ukrainian border into Poland.

"Poland is a front-line country... we want the cost of the stay of Ukrainian refugees, including the cost of healthcare services, to be refunded by the EC," Niedzielski said.

"We estimate these costs to be at PLN 8 billion (EUR 1.72 billion) by the end of the year," Niedzielski said, adding that the EC had already offered funds worth about EUR 700 million.

Later in the day, Niedzielski tweeted that "thanks to Poland's initiative, renegotiation of vaccine contracts at the European level will start from July."