This study provides a mapping of funds contributed by different actors for the R&D and the expansion of the production capacity of COVID-19 vaccines, with a focus on those authorised in the EU. It examined nine vaccines are examined and found that governments, mainly the US (with some not-for-profit entities), decisively supported corporate investments, either for R&D, manufacturing, or both, by nearly EUR 9 billion, i.e. on average, EUR one billion of grants per vaccine; however, with vast variance across companies. Moreover, almost EUR 21 billion was allocated to companies through Advance Purchase Agreements. While the EU and MS support through Advance Purchase Agreements was key to derisking the production of vaccines, the role of EU and MS support in directly supporting R&D was marginal compared with the US federal government. The study assesses the necessity for continuing public support to R&D on vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 future variants of concern and possibly other coronaviruses. The methodology combined desk research, statistical analysis, and interviews. After highlighting current market failures, new incentive mechanisms in the public interest for vaccine R&D are suggested to grant equity and accessibility, as well as rewards in line with risks.