After the sometimes sluggish vaccination start in many EU countries, the criticism was loud. Now the EU Commission has signed another contract with the Mainz company Biontech.
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The EU Commission has signed a contract for up to 300 million doses of the corona vaccine from the Mainz company Biontech and its US partner Pfizer. 75 million cans of it should already be available in the second quarter of 2021, said EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Friday in Brussels.
The new contract follows complaints about vaccine shortages in Germany and other EU countries. Both Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) and the EU Commission were criticized. The Biontech / Pfizer preparation was approved as the first corona vaccine in the EU on December 21. The drug from the US manufacturer Moderna was also approved on Wednesday.
As early as November, the EU Commission ordered up to 300 million vaccine doses from Biontech / Pfizer for all 27 states – a firm order of 200 million doses and an option for 100 million more that was recently drawn. Both Biontech and the EU Commission recently confirmed that further deliveries were being negotiated.
The EU can now obtain up to two billion vaccine doses
The EU Commission had always resisted criticism of a vaccine deficiency. The number of vaccines is sufficient, but the funds must first be produced, emphasized a spokesman. The vaccination campaign has only just started. At the moment it is not the number of orders, but the production capacities of the companies that are the bottleneck, according to the Brussels authority.
In Germany, Biontech is currently working on a new production site in Marburg. If this goes into operation in February as planned, then the company could massively expand vaccine production, said Spahn recently. “This leads to earlier deliveries of ordered cans.”
In addition to Biontech / Pfizer, there are already framework agreements with five other manufacturers. Including the new contract with Biontech / Pfizer, the EU can now purchase a total of more than two billion cans. The EU Commission has secured up to 160 million cans of Moderna.