EU member states could buy potential COVID-19 vaccines through a procurement scheme co-led by the World Health Organization, in what appears to be a change in position by the EU Commission.
The move could allow EU governments to secure vaccines from companies which aren't negotiating with Brussels, including American firms.
That would represent a change of policy, as the EU executive originally advised member states not to purchase vaccines through the World Health Organization scheme.
It previously described the scheme as slow, expensive and legally incompatible with the parallel EU procurement program.
The apparent change comes after the World Health Organization last month softened the terms for rich countries to join its scheme..
which aims to secure two billion doses for the most vulnerable people in the world.
It also follows criticism of the EU that it was effectively undermining the World Health Organization initiative.
That's despite projecting itself as a champion of multilateralism and a supporter of equitable access to vaccines for all.
By forcing EU states to buy only through an EU scheme, the Commission was actually at risk of reducing the amount of doses initially available to less developed countries.
That's because it would be prioritizing EU citizens, effectively replicating the nationalist policies of the U.S.
The EU has so far reached an advance purchase deal on COVID-19 vaccines with AstraZeneca.
It's also in talks with others such as Johnson & Johnson and Moderna.