EU secures 300m additional doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine
Toni Waterman in Brussels
Europe;Brussels, Belgium
A vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. /Reuters

A vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. /Reuters


The European Union has doubled its deal with Pfizer-BioNTech, giving member states access to 600 million doses of the vaccine. European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said 75 million doses of the new order would be available by the second quarter, with the rest delivered in the second half of the year.  

"We already have a contract, so there will be no lengthy negotiations. 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 additional momentum for vaccination in Europe," she said when announcing the new order on Friday.   



This latest order brings the bloc's entire coronavirus vaccine portfolio to 2.3 billion doses, enough to immunize the entire population more than twice. Von der Leyen said excess doses could be given to neighboring countries. 

Von der Leyen also swatted away criticism that the Commission, which spearheaded the EU's vaccine procurement, didn't buy enough of the right jabs, saying Brussels whittled down a list of 160 potential candidates to the six major contenders. Besides Pfizer-BioNTech, Brussels has signed contracts with Moderna, AstraZeneca, Sanofi-GSK, Janssen Pharmaceutica and CureVac. 

Von der Leyen said without the Commission's early investment in capacity-building at these companies over the summer, Friday's deal wouldn't have been possible.  

"We're now reaping the benefits. And I'm very much convinced that this European course of action was the right one and I think that will be proven in hindsight. " 

The Moderna jab, which was approved by the European Medicines Agency and the European Commission on Wednesday, is the only other approved vaccine for use across the 27-member bloc. It is expected to be rolled out soon.  

The two vaccines are enough to immunize more than 80 percent of the bloc's population, Von der Leyen said. 

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