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Overcoming the pandemic

A pioneer in safe and effective vaccines and treatments

in the EU
of the adult EU population
have received primary vaccination (1 or 2 doses) against COVID-19
of the adult EU population
received a booster dose

Approval timeline: Safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19

  1. 21 December 2020
  2. 6 January 2021
  3. 29 January 2021
  4. 11 March 2021
    Johnson & Johnson
  5. 20 December 2021
  6. 24 June 2022

A swift response to the virus

Early in the pandemic, the Commission entered into advance purchase agreements with individual vaccine producers on behalf of Member States. Thanks to this foresight, and the ability to secure deliveries of vaccines, Europe has tamed the worst pandemic in a century.

How was this done?

The Commission financed part of the costs faced by vaccine producers from the €2.7 billion Emergency Support Instrument. In return, the Commission secured an agreed number of vaccines, timing of delivery and price. By doing so, the Commission contributed to developing and manufacturing safe and effective vaccines in record time.

In the case of new variants, if an adapted vaccine is authorised by autumn 2022, the EU will have access to deliveries in the form of adapted vaccines from BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna.

Progression of the amount of people vaccinated in the EU


More than vaccines

How many vaccines have been approved so far?

have been authorised, after passing the most rigorous clinical trials and regulatory approval processes in the world
4.2 billion
vaccine doses
have been secured
1.7 billion
vaccine doses
have been delivered

Global cooperation and solidarity

From the beginning, the EU has been committed to international cooperation in fighting the pandemic. We have become the single biggest supplier of vaccines against COVID-19 in the world, and one of the lead donors to COVAX, a global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. 

Global response
to coronavirus
Over 2.4 billion
of vaccines against COVID-19 exported by the EU to 168 countries
478 million
were donated to countries in need, in particular across Africa, mostly through COVAX

The EU has also been at the forefront of the global trade response to the pandemic. During the World Trade Organization’s 12th Ministerial Conference in June 2022, members agreed to waive certain intellectual property obligations concerning vaccines against COVID-19.

Reopening Europe and the world

  • The EU Digital COVID Certificate has been a crucial innovation in Europe’s response, and has rapidly become a global standard helping resume safe international travel. As of August 2022, more than 1.6 billion people worldwide can use EU Digital COVID Certificates for their international travel.

  • The EU developed a global standard: 48 non-EU countries and territories across five continents have joined the system, on top of the 27 Member States.

Getting the world moving again

Building a strong European Health Union

The new Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) is contributing to the development, production and stockpiling of medicines, vaccines and other medical countermeasures – such as personal protective equipment.

Since its activation, HERA has:

  • Established an expert group on COVID-19 variants to monitor mutations
  • Made vaccine purchases against monkeypox
  • Set up the EU FAB – a network of emergency response production capacities for vaccine and medicine manufacturing 
  • Begun stockpiling equipment and drugs against chemical and nuclear threats
  • Plus sign

    Improve and foster health in the EU

  • shield

    Protect people in the EU from serious cross-border threats to health

  • cardboard box

    Improve medicinal products, medical devices and crisis-relevant products

  • luggage with a cross

    Strengthen health systems

Building resilience of health systems

The pharmaceutical strategy for Europe, adopted in November 2020, presents concrete initiatives to ensure access to safe, high-quality, affordable medicines for patients, and addressing unmet medical needs. It also aims to enhance security of supply, address shortages and promote the strategic autonomy of the EU. In March 2022, the mandate of the European Medicines Agency was strengthened to better monitor and mitigate shortages of critical medicines.

Using data to save lives

Thanks to the lessons learned during the pandemic, and the measures put in place since, the EU is now in a stronger position than ever to fight future health crises.

Disclaimer: The data on this page was last updated on 31 August 2022

Progress in other areas

hand holding a card

of the von der Leyen Commission