The EU is holding talks with Moderna on buying more Covid-19 vaccine, while AstraZeneca, with which talks have stalled, has suggested delivering doses of its own vaccine made outside Europe to make up for supply cuts, two EU sources said.
The European Union has set a target of vaccinating 70 per cent of its adult population by the end of the summer, but has struggled to secure the doses promised by pharmaceutical companies.
It is now trying to expand its reserve of vaccines, which already amount to nearly 2.3 billion doses from six drugmakers for its population of about 450 million.
The EU is negotiating a new supply deal with Moderna that could nearly double the volume of vaccine doses from the US biotech firm, two senior EU officials involved in the talks told Reuters.
Under the deal being negotiated, the EU would secure 150 million additional doses from Moderna, on top of 160 million that have already been booked and have started being rolled out last month.
Moderna declined to comment on the talks with the EU. But it said it was holding discussions with regulatory authorities in different countries on the possibility of increasing the number of doses in vials to 15 from 10.
The EU is also close to finalising talks with Novavax for 200 million doses, one of the officials said, confirming a Reuters report from last week.
Separately, the EU and AstraZeneca are now holding weekly meetings to find ways to boost production quickly. AstraZeneca executives told EU officials on Friday that to accelerate supplies to the bloc, it could provide it with some doses manufactured outside Europe, the two sources said. One said the Serum Institute of India could be a supplier.
Both EU sources said the company’s new offers lacked clarity. One source said it was still not clear whether AstraZeneca could deliver the 40 million doses pledged for the first three months of 2021, and there were only vague commitments for the second quarter.
“It’s all built on sand,” the official said.