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EU praises Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine and orders more doses

Image: Ascannio, via Shutterstock.com

Commission backs deal for up to 300 million doses

European Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen has said promising signs of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine’s effectiveness show “European science works” and that the Commission will buy hundreds of millions of doses.

Von der Leyen took to social media on 9 November to announce the expansion of a pre-agreed deal, after Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said their vaccine was 90 per cent effective in preventing Covid-19 in tests.

“Great news from Pfizer and BioNTech Group on the successful results of their latest clinical trial,” said Von der Leyen. “European science works!”

She added that the European Commission will “sign [a] contract with them soon for up to 300 million doses”.

The development follows a commitment made by the Commission on 9 September after it completed “exploratory talks” with BioNTech and Pfizer to buy 200 million doses of their vaccine candidate, with the option to buy another 100 million doses once the safety and efficacy of the drug have been proven.

On 10 November Von der Leyen held talks with EU commissioners on other aspects of the bloc’s Covid-19 response, including its purchase of rapid antigen tests, progress on contact-tracing apps and preparation of national vaccination plans.