General

The Emergency Support Instrument helps Member States in their efforts to address the coronavirus pandemic. It responds to needs that can be best addressed in a strategic, coordinated manner at European level. As a financing arm of the Joint European Roadmap towards lifting coronavirus containment measures, the instrument helps mitigate the immediate consequences of the pandemic and anticipate the needs related to the exit and recovery.

The Emergency Support Instrument is based on the principle of solidarity and pools efforts and resources to quickly address shared strategic needs.

All the latest information on the actions financed by the Emergency Support Instrument and their implementation will be published on this page.

Vaccines

A significant part of the budget available under the European Support Instrument will be used to secure the production of vaccines in the EU and sufficient supplies for its Member States through Advance Purchase Agreements with vaccine producers. This is part of the European Commission’s vaccine strategy.

To date, the European Commission reached agreements with six pharmaceutical companies for the purchase of a potential vaccine against COVID-19 once the vaccine has proven to be safe and effective:

  • AstraZeneca to purchase 300 million doses, with an option to purchase 100 million more;
  • Sanofi-GSK to purchase up to 300 million doses.
  • Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, to purchase 200 million doses, with an option to purchase 200 million more.
  • BioNTech-Pfizer or the initial purchase of 200 million doses and the option to purchase 100 million more
  • CureVac for the purchase of 225 million doses on behalf of all EU Member States, plus an option to request up to a further 180 million doses
  • Moderna for an initial purchase of 80 million doses and the option to purchase 80 million more

The Commission continues intensive discussions with other vaccine manufacturers.

Treatments

On 28 July, the European Commission signed a contract with the pharmaceutical company Gilead to secure treatment doses of Veklury, the brand name for the therapeutic drug Remdesivir. Veklury was the first medicine authorised at the EU level to treat COVID-19. With the support of the Commission, batches of Veklury will be made available to Member States and the UK. The batches will reach the Member States and the UK in several instalments. The first instalment (for about 7300 patients) was sent in August and the second will reach the countries in the first half of September (for about 12 500 patients). The last instalment is planned for October 2020.

The Commission’s Emergency Support Instrument will finance the €63 million contract to ensure the treatment of a total of approximately 30,000 patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms.  On 7 October the Commission signed a joint procurement framework contract with Gilead for the supply of up to 500,000 treatment courses of Veklury, which will allow all EU countries, EEA countries, the UK, as well as six candidate countries and potential candidates to place their orders to procure Veklury directly. The Commission is also spending a further €7 million to obtain further supplies of Veklury to help cover needs pending the deliveries under the joint procurement.

On 31 July, the European Commission invited more than 200 blood-collection services from around the EU to apply for funding for the purchase of plasmapheresis equipment - equipment that collects plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients who are willing to donate. The additional equipment will increase the capacity to collect convalescent plasma and to build preparedness for the rapid collection in the event of future peaks or waves of the pandemic. With a budget of €40 million, grants will be provided to public and non-governmental blood-collection services authorised to collect plasma. Learn more about treatments.

On 13 November, the Commission awarded a grant of €1 million, financed under the Emergency Support Instrument, to support the conduct of a clinical trial for repurposing Raloxifene, an existing medicine used to prevent and treat osteoporosis, identified through the Horizon 2020 Exscalate4CoV supercomputing platform as a promising molecule to treat patients suffering from COVID-19. The aim of the trial, which will involve 450 participants, is to assess the efficacy and safety of Raloxifene and its capability to prevent the replication of the COVID-19 virus in cells and to reduce the mean time of viral shedding in COVID-19 patients who do not show yet severe symptoms.

Testing

Testing is a decisive tool to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. On 28 October, the European Commission announced that it is mobilising €100 million under the Emergency Support Instrument to directly purchase rapid antigen tests and deliver them to Member States. In addition, the Commission is also preparing a joint procurement to facilitate Member States’ access to rapid antigen tests. At the same time, the Commission adopted a Recommendation on COVID-19 testing strategies, including the use of rapid antigen tests.

On 18 November, the European Commission has signed an agreement with the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) mobilizing € 35.5 million under the Emergency Support Instrument to scale up COVID-19 testing capacity in the EU. The funding will be used to support training of staff for sampling collection and analysis and performance of tests, especially via mobile equipment. The funding will enable Red Cross Mobile Testing Teams to have access to the necessary equipment, lab items and reagents to take samples and perform tests, and support national authorities in their work.

Transport of essential goods, medical teams and patients

The Emergency Support Instrument provides financial support for:

Emergency kit the transport of medical items to where they are most needed, by financing the cargo transport of assistance and relief items to and between EU Member States
Protective equipment the transfer of patients between EU Member States or from Member States to neighbouring countries, so that where health services risk being overwhelmed, spare capacity elsewhere can be used, so ensuring treatment for as many patients as possible
Advisory group the transport of medical personnel and mobile medical teams between EU Member States and into the EU from other neighbouring countries, to help people wherever medical assistance is needed most

This additional funding opportunity comes on top of support already available via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and deliveries of protective equipment through rescEU.

The Commission allocated €150 million to support 18 Member States and the UK to finance cargo shipments between April and September 2020, including life-saving personal protective equipment, medicines and medical equipment. For example, the action supported the transport of a shared shipment of more than 1,000 tonnes of essential personal protective equipment to Czechia and Slovakia. The action is the result of a call for funding launched by the Commission on 18 June, and follows a pilot operation which successfully delivered over seven tonnes of personal protective equipment to Bulgaria.

The Commission has made nearly €100 million available for the procurement of essential health-related products, such as personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, glasses, gowns), ventilators and medicines for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19, as well as services to facilitate the quality and use of such products.

icon of a mask Personal protective equipment: the Commission has purchased 10 million masks to protect healthcare workers. These masks will be delivered in batches to the EU countries who expressed an interest.
Syiringe Treatments: the essential health related products facility has also been used to funded the purchase of treatment doses of Veklury, the brand name for the therapeutic Remdesivir (see above). Veklury was the first medicine authorised at the EU level to treat COVID-19.

 

EU medical and health support

UV Robots for disinfection of hospitals across Europe

The Commission has made available €12 million from the Emergency Support Instrument to purchase 200 UV disinfection robots that will be delivered to hospitals across Europe. The robots can disinfect standard patient rooms using ultraviolet light in as quickly as 15 minutes, and represent an important asset that can help hospitals reducing the risk of infection and containing the spread of coronavirus.

 


Training of healthcare professionals in intensive care skills

On 18 August, the European Commission signed a contract making €2.5 million available for the training of a multidisciplinary pool of healthcare professionals to support and assist Intensive Care Units. The training programme will be implemented across the EU and cover a minimum of 1,000 hospitals and 10,000 doctors and nurses between August and December 2020. The programme will provide intensive care medical skills to healthcare professionals who do not regularly work in Intensive Care Units. This will help increase the capacity of staff that could be deployed at a time when there is need for a rapid, temporary and significant scale-up Intensive Care Unit capacity.

Linking national contact tracing apps

In the fight against coronavirus, most Member States have launched a national contact tracing and warning app, or plan to do so. Some 10 million euro have been made available under the Emergency Support Instrument to link up these national apps to release the potential of mobile proximity contact tracing and warning apps to break the chain of coronavirus infections and save lives, even when people are crossing borders. The interoperability gateway service will provide a European solution to ensure a safe exchange of information between national apps based on a decentralised architecture and a high level of data protection. After a successful pilot phase, the system went live on 19 October with the first round of national apps now linked through this service: Germany’s Corona-Warn-App, Ireland’s COVID tracker, and Italy’s Immuni that were downloaded by around 30 million people. More countries will soon follow. It is intended that the gateway will be fully operational by the end of October.