European Commission to purchase millions more COVID-19 doses

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Jan. 8 (UPI) — The European Commission on Friday proposed to its members to purchase 200 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech with an option of another 100 million more.

The doses would be available to member states in the second quarter of this year. The European Union said the move would allow it to buy up to 600 million doses total.

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“The advantage of this good news is: We have already a contract — so no lengthy negotiations anymore,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement. “It is a proven vaccine — so the whole procedure of authorization is done.

“The member states know it — so they know how to handle it, they know the logistics behind it. And therefore this brings certainty for the planning and it creates an additional momentum for vaccinations throughout Europe and for the neighborhood,” she said.

A statement from the commission said the move would cover the needs of its whole EU population along with neighboring countries.

“This means, with these two authorized vaccines, we have already secured an amount of doses that we need to vaccinate 380 million Europeans,” von der Leyen said. “And this is more than 80% of the European population. And other vaccines will follow in the coming weeks and months.”