European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced a deal to buy 300 million more doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, doubling its order for the jabs.
Countering criticism from national capitals that the Commission had acted too slowly or not purchased enough, she said more than 75 million doses will be available in the EU by the second quarter of 2020.
“Europe will have more than enough vaccines in a reliable time frame,” she said. “The path we have taken together as Europe is the right one.”
With both the BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna vaccines approved in the EU, von der Leyen said the bloc will have enough vaccines to use on 80 percent of the population.
The announcement today means the Commission would extend its contract with the German and American companies for 200 million doses of the mRNA vaccine with the option to purchase another 100 million. The deal still has to be approved by EU countries.
The Commission’s original contract with BioNTech/Pfizer secured 200 million doses of the vaccine with an option to buy another 100 million, which the Commission triggered in December. The new order brings that to 600 million doses.
It has also ordered 160 million doses of the Moderna jab along with deals with four other countries. Overall, if other vaccines are proved safe and effective, it will have 2 billion doses available.
The announcement comes after increasing criticism, especially from Germany, that the EU did not purchase enough of the right vaccines. “Who would have known which vaccines would have made it,” in the summer, von der Leyen said, which is why the EU opted for a “broad range from the outset.”
EU buys up to 300M more doses of BioNTech/Pfizer coronavirus vaccine The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ Politico.