BRUSSELS – The European Commission will sign a deal to secure up to 300 million doses of the experimental coronavirus vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer.
Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the EU’s executive arm, said the commission will authorize the deal on Wednesday after “working tirelessly to secure doses of potential vaccines” in recent months.
“This is the most promising vaccine so far,” von der Leyen said. “Once this vaccine becomes available, our plan is to deploy it quickly, everywhere in Europe.”
Pfizer said Monday that early results from the vaccine suggests the shots may be a surprisingly robust 90% effective at preventing COVID-19.
The European Commission had already secured three other deals with pharmaceutical companies allowing its 27 member states to buy nearly one billion doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine.
“And more will come. Because we need to have a broad portfolio of vaccines based on different technologies,” von der Leyen said. “We have already started working with member states to prepare national vaccination campaigns. We are almost there. In the meantime, let us be prudent, and stay safe.”
The commission said once a vaccine is ready, member states should have access to it at the same time, and give priority to groups including healthcare workers and people over 60 years, as well as people with health conditions making them more vulnerable.
BioNTech said Tuesday that it and Pfizer have so far signed commercial supply agreements for 570 million doses in 2020 and 2021, with options to purchase an additional 600 million doses.