EU Clinches Vaccine Deal With Pfizer as Doses Surge in the Bloc
(Bloomberg) -- The European Union said it concluded negotiations with Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE to deliver a massive supply of Covid vaccines to the bloc, adding to a surge of doses that’s clearing the way for economies to reopen and travel to begin again.
The European Commission informed member states on Wednesday about the deal, which is expected to cover 1.8 billion additional Covid doses through 2023, according to a diplomatic note seen by Bloomberg.
A separate memo showed that the EU expects to receive almost 29 million vaccines in the week ending May 3, which will represent a total of 188 million doses delivered to the bloc.
The EU’s roll out still lags behind other advanced economies, such as the U.K. and the U.S., after a botched start mired by procurement, authorization and delivery delays. Despite subsequent setbacks caused by concerns over clotting side effects from AstraZeneca Plc and Johnson & Johnson’s shots, the bloc is catching up as accelerated deliveries from Pfizer make up for the shortfall.
“The European Commission has embarked on one of the most ambitious public health programs the world has ever seen,” a Pfizer spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. “We remain firmly committed to ensuring access to Covid-19 vaccines for people living in the European Union.”
The commission, the bloc’s executive arm, also told the ambassadors that it was hoping to conclude negotiations with the U.S. biotechnology company Novavax next week, with only the delivery schedule remaining to be finalized.
The commission also stressed that the new contracts would be stronger and an improvement on previous agreements, and include clauses to allow the donation and reselling of doses, according to the note. The EU filed a lawsuit against AstraZeneca earlier this month over its failure to deliver doses on time.
Unlike the U.S. and the U.K., the EU has been exporting tens of millions of vaccines to the rest of the world. The bloc has authorized the export of 148 million doses between the end of January and April 27, according to the memo seen by Bloomberg, 12 million more than an update distributed to delegations in Brussels last week.
Japan remains the top export destination for vaccines produced in the EU, with 52.3 million shots, according to the latest update. Some 17.3 million have been authorized for export to the U.K. and 14.2 million for Canada. A total of 126.6 million first and second doses had been administered in EU member states as of April 27, fewer than the number of exports.
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