BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union is paying €15.5 (US$18.6) per dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, according to the first contract it signed with the two companies which was leaked on Wednesday to Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia.
The price confirms what Reuters has reported in past months. Many media reported instead a lower number based on a document with partial prices briefly published on Twitter by a Belgian politician, who later deleted the tweet. .
The Belgian document, which included prices also for other jabs booked by the EU, fuelled the theory that the EU was facing delays in its vaccine supplies because it had paid too little.
That was despite the AstraZeneca contract leaked in February that showed the price for that shot was higher than what was reported in the Belgian document.
Under the leaked contract with Pfizer, the EU agreed to pay on average €15.5 for the first 200 million doses. It also agreed to pay the same price for another 100 million optional doses which it ordered within a deadline set in the contract. Beyond that deadline it would have paid €17.5 per dose.
The EU in January signed a second contract for another 300 million doses with Pfizer-BioNTech that EU officials said kept the same price as the first contract.
The leaked contract also shows the EU gave Pfizer and BioNTech an upfront payment of 700 million euros in December to secure the first 200 million doses.
The bloc is now negotiating a third contract for a total of 1.8 billion doses with the two companies for €19.5 per dose, which would have stricter delivery conditions and the option for the EU to order enhanced vaccines against virus variants.
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio in Brussels and Inti Landauro in Madrid; editing by Chizu Nomiyama)