European Union vaccination programme progressing; 150 million Moderna vaccines ordered

Cornelia Mascio
Febbraio 18, 2021

The new deal, which she hailed as "good news", adds to the EU's vaccine stock as it strives to meet a target of fully vaccinating 70% of adults by mid-September.

However, the European Commisson President Ursula von der Leyen insists member states should not be making bi-lateral deals with companies.

Numerically, that is more than enough for the EU's 450 million inhabitants, with the excess going to neighbouring countries, she said.

"We will always have to be vigilant to be able, if there are escaped mutations, to fight them with improved vaccines", she said.

But the bloc is still 10 million doses short of what Pfizer was said to have promised to member states since the rollout began late past year. The company said that these doses will be delivered in the third and fourth quarter of 2021.

"We're now coming out of this period of limited supplies".

The Europeans Medicines Agency has announced that pharmaceutical firm Janssen has applied for conditional authorisation for its Covid-19 vaccine.

She has run into fierce criticism from some capitals over the stuttering start, largely due to the AstraZeneca supply problem, and has turned her attention to ensuring a stronger follow-up.

The bloc is negotiating new supply agreements with Novavax, Valneva and Moderna to increase its vaccine reserve beyond the almost 2.3 billion doses which it has already secured from six pharmaceutical firms.

It is also adding anti-variant clauses in its new supply deals to make sure companies develop shots that work against new variants, European Union sources said.

The EU's vaccine scheme has fallen drastically behind the programmes of Britain and Israel.

The EU will invest at least 75 million euros ($90 million) to develop specialised tests to identify variants, and it will provide another 150 million euros to boost research in variants, the EU executive said in a statement.

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