The European Commission expects to receive more than 200 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech in the second quarter, it said on Tuesday, putting the European Union on course to meet its inoculation target.
The EU aims to vaccinate at least 255 million people, or 70 per cent of its adult population, by the end of the summer.
It has faced criticism of a slow rollout amid supply delays from some drugmakers, hiccups in vaccination plans and the suspension of inoculations using the AstraZeneca vaccine due to potential health issues.
The new expected deliveries from Pfizer include 10 million doses originally expected in the third and fourth quarters, the Commission said.
“These accelerated 10 million doses will bring the total doses of BioNTech-Pfizer in quarter two up to over 200 million,” EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said, revealing for the first time the volume of doses expected from Pfizer in the April-June quarter.
Pfizer on Tuesday confirmed the EU statement regarding second-quarter supply.
“This is very good news. It gives member states room to manoeuvre and possibly fill gaps in deliveries,” Dr von der Leyen said.
The additional doses would be moved forward from an option of 100 million doses in a second contract the EU signed in January with Pfizer and BioNTech, the EU statement said.
In total the EU has booked 600 million doses from the two companies in two separate contracts.
It is unclear whether this announcement could lead to changes in the EU’s overall delivery forecasts. The Commission said last week it expected 300 million doses in the second quarter from all the vaccine makers it had contracts with.
The bloc in the second quarter expects 55 million doses from Johnson & Johnson and 35 million from Moderna, according to a delivery schedule published by the Italian government and an internal document on supply forecasts from Germany’s health ministry.
AstraZeneca last week announced it aimed to deliver to the 27-nation bloc 70 million doses in the second quarter from its original contractual obligation of 180 million. – Reuters