The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for Europe to be better prepared for future health emergencies. The EU4Health programme well reflects this need: protecting citizens from cross-borders health threats is among its funding priorities.
On behalf of the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA), the European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA) has signed a framework contract with four contractors setting up the EU FAB network for sufficient and agile manufacturing capacities for different vaccine types (mRNA-based, vector-based, and protein-based). These capacities will be kept operational and can be activated quickly, securing a total of 325 million doses per year in case of a public health emergency.
The EU FAB network comprises vaccine producers in the EU (Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain). The actions of the network will close the gap between manufacturing and scaling up of vaccine production, while ensuring the capacity of the industry to produce life-saving medicines.
How does EU FAB work
EU FAB will reserve manufacturing capacitiesfor the EU to produce vaccines in case of public health emergencies. EU FAB will work as follows:
- Preparedness phase: EU FAB reserves the necessary manufacturing capacity. The EU FAB facilities ensure their constant readiness to respond to a crisis by keeping their facilities up to date, ensuring staff is trained, and monitoring their supply chains, including stockpiling where necessary.
- Crisis phase: Following the recognition of a public health emergency, the Commission decides to purchase vaccines and activate EU FAB. The EU FAB facilities will then rapidly start production and deliver the vaccines according to the deadlines set in the purchase contracts.
EU FAB will cover manufacturing capacities for mRNA, vector-based and protein-based vaccines. The selected vaccine manufacturers are:
- Vector-based vaccines: Bilthoven Biologicals B.V
- Protein-based vaccines: LABORATORIOS HIPRA S.A; CZ Vaccines and Laboratorio Reig Jofre SA
- mRNA vaccines: Pfizer Ireland Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer Manufacturing Belgium
HERA is a key pillar of the European Health Union and a fundamental asset to strengthen the EU's health emergency response and preparedness. It was set up to improve Europe’s ability to rapidly respond to such crises, and to make vaccines available to European citizens. In its 2023 Work Plan, HERA committed to further preparedness for pandemics and other large-scale health crises, with focus on the availability and accessibility of medical countermeasures (MCMs) through five flagship initiatives, one of which is the establishment of EU FAB.
The EU FAB network is a result of a EU4Health call for tenders launched in April 2022 on behalf of HERA. Pharmaceutical companies and contract manufacturing organisations that provide manufacturing services to other companies in the pharmaceutical industry could participate in the call.
EU4Health, with a budget of €5.3 billion, is the fourth and largest of the EU health programmes. The EU4Health programme goes beyond an ambitious response to the COVID-19 crisis to address the resilience of European healthcare systems. The programme provides funding to national authorities, health organisations and other bodies through grants and public procurement, contributing to a healthier Europe.
HaDEA manages the vast majority of the total EU4Health budget and implements the programme by managing calls for proposals and tenders from 2021 to 2027.
- Publication date
- 30 June 2023
- European Health and Digital Executive Agency
- Programme Sector
- AWPEUFundedHealth preparednessHealthUnionIndustrial researchPharmaceutical industryPublic healthTendering