The European Union agreed Saturday to buy up to 1.8 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech.
“Happy to announce that @EU_Commission has just approved a contract for guaranteed 900 million doses (+900 million options) with @[email protected] for 2021-2023,” EU President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted early Saturday. “Other contracts and other vaccine technologies will follow.”
She listed three steps as the “next stage” in the EU’s pandemic response: giving booster shots, dealing with “possible escape variants” and allowing children and teens to get the jabs.
The new contract has the unanimous backing of the EU’s 27 countries.
It comes on top of the 600 million doses already purchased from Pfizer.
New York-based Pfizer and BioNTech already said they would provide the EU with an extra 50 million doses in the second quarter of this year, making up for faltering deliveries of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
The EU filed suit against AstraZeneca two weeks for failing to respect the terms of its contract to deliver the shots to its member countries. The AstraZeneca shots, which have not yet been approved in the US, have raised some concerns about blood clots.
The Pfizer deal involves not only vaccine production, but also making sure that all of the essential components for the shots are produced in the EU.
So far, the EU has made some 200 million doses available to its 450 million citizens while almost as many have been exported from the bloc, von der Leyen said.
With Post Wires