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EU secures extra 300 million doses of Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine

08.01.2021 14:30
The European Union has secured an extra 300 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by US drug maker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, bringing the total from the two firms to 600 million doses, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen briefs the media on the EUs vaccine strategy in Brussels, Belgium, on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen briefs the media on the EU's vaccine strategy in Brussels, Belgium, on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021.Photo: PAP/EPA/FRANCOIS WALSCHAERTS/POOL

"We now have access to 600 million doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, double the initial quantity," von der Leyen announced.

"It will boost vaccination across Europe," she added, amid criticism that too few shots were available to citizens and that the rollout has been too slow.

Overall, the European Commission has secured 2.3 billion doses of the most promising COVID-19 vaccines for Europe and neighboring countries, von der Leyen also said in a tweet.

Addressing a news conference in Brussels on Friday, von der Leyen gave an update on the inoculation effort across the 27-nation bloc.

Referring to the Pfizer/BioNTech shot, she said: "We already have a contract, so there will be no lengthy negotiations."

She added: "It’s a proven vaccine, so authorization is done. Member states know the vaccine so they know the logistics behind it. Therefore it brings certainty for the planning, and it creates an additional momentum for vaccination in Europe."

Von der Leyen told the news conference that 75 million of the additional doses under the new deal would be delivered in the second quarter of this year, and the rest by the end of 2021. 

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) on December 21 recommended conditional approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for use across the European Union.

The decision by the EU regulator was subsequently greenlighted by the bloc’s executive, the European Commission.

In Poland, a 52-year-old Warsaw hospital nurse on Sunday, December 27, became the first person in the country to be vaccinated against the coronavirus using the Pfizer-BioNTech shot.

So far, a total of 188,956 people have been vaccinated for COVID-19 across the country, according to official data released by the Polish health ministry on Friday.

The European Union, of which Poland is part, has struck deals to secure vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTechAstraZenecaModernaCureVacSanofi-GSK, and Johnson & Johnson.

The European Medicines Agency on Wednesday, January 6, gave
the green light to Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, the second shot it has approved as countries step up inoculation efforts amid fears of more contagious strains of the coronavirus.

"With these two authorized vaccines we have already secured an amount of doses we need to vaccinate 380 million Europeans," more than 80 percent of the EU's population, von der Leyen said on Friday.

Other vaccines will follow in the coming weeks and months, she added.

In a separate announcement on Friday, the EU drug regulator changed its recommendation for the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, allowing the extraction of six doses from a vial instead of five, the Reuters news agency reported.

It said the move would increase available doses by 20 percent.


Source: IAR, PAP, euronews.com, Reuters