The European Union is doubling its stock of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, as concerns grow over its rollout across the 27 member nations.
The vaccine developed with the German biotech was the first one to be approved by European regulators and it has been administrated across the region since Dec. 27. However, the rollout has been uneven and the European Commission has been criticized for not buying more of the vaccine.
The Commission has argued that it has a diversified portfolio of vaccine contracts, as requested by member states, totaling up to 2.3 billion doses from “the most promising candidates.”
“As you know we have right now access to 300 million doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine. Now the good news is: we have now agreed with BioNTech-Pfizer to extend this contract. With the new agreement we could purchase a total of up to an additional 300 million doses,” Ursula von der Leyen, the commission’s president, said at a press conference on Friday.
This would mean that the EU is on track to receive 600 million doses of this vaccine. Speaking to CNBC in December, Pfizer’s CEO committed to producing 1.3 billion doses in total during 2021, which would mean Europe would receive nearly half its annual output.
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