The U.S.- German pharmaceutical partners Pfizer-BioNTech announced Wednesday they have struck a deal with the European Commission — the European Union’s executive branch - for another 200 million doses of coronavirus vaccine, with an option to purchase an additional 100 million doses.
In a statement Wednesday, the companies said the agreement is in addition to one signed with the EU last year for 300 million doses through 2021.
The additional doses are expected to be delivered in 2021, with an estimated 75 million to be supplied in the second quarter.
Including the option for 100 million doses, the EU has now potentially stockpiled 600 million doses for use through this year. The regional bloc is being criticized by some of its member states for its slow rollout of the vaccine program.
Last week, in comments to the European Parliament, European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen apologized for some of the decisions that contributed to delays, but she expressed no regrets for the extra time taken to ensure the vaccines were efficient and safe before they were approved.
Through its drug regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the EU has so far approved three vaccines for use among its member states. Along with the Pfizer-BioNTech shot, the EMA has given emergency approval to vaccines produced by Moderna and AstraZeneca.