European Commission President Urusula Von der Leyen Wednesday announced the European Union has reached a deal with pharmaceutical partners Pfizer-BioNTech for 50 million additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine, to be delivered in the coming months.
At a news briefing in Brussels, Von der Leyen said the new deal means the EU will have obtained 250 million doses. She said the bloc is negotiating a third contract with the partners for 1.8 billion doses to be delivered in 2022 and 2023.
She said the deal will “not only include the production of vaccines, but also the essential components. All of that will be based in the European Union."
Von der Leyen said 100 million doses have been administered in the 27-nation EU bloc already, saying this is “a milestone we can be proud of.”
But, noting issues with AstraZeneca, and this week, the Johnson & Johnson shots, the European Commission president said many factors can disrupt the planned delivery schedules of vaccines.
She said, “It is therefore important to act swiftly, anticipate, and adjust whenever it is possible, and we are doing everything in our power to support Europe's vaccination rollout.”
Several European nations suspended administering the AstraZeneca vaccine after reports of rare cases of blood clots. Tuesday, U.S. health regulators recommended pausing inoculations with Johnson & Johnson’s product because of similar reports.