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EU to buy 300 million doses of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine
10 November 2020, 18:30
The European Union will buy up to 300 million doses of the Covid-19 developed by Pfizer after successful trials.
The President of the EU Commission said the body will authorise the deal on Wednesday after "working tirelessly to secure doses of potential vaccines" in recent months.
"This is the most promising vaccine so far," Ms von der Leyen said. "Once this vaccine becomes available, our plan is to deploy it quickly, everywhere in Europe."
Pfizer said on Monday that early results from the vaccine suggest the injections may be 90% effective at preventing Covid-19.
The Commission had already secured three other deals with pharmaceutical companies allowing its 27 member states to buy nearly one billion doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine.
"And more will come. Because we need to have a broad portfolio of vaccines based on different technologies," Ms von der Leyen said.
"We have already started working with member states to prepare national vaccination campaigns. We are almost there. In the meantime, let us be prudent, and stay safe."
The commission said once a vaccine is ready, member states should have access to it at the same time, and give priority to groups including healthcare workers and people over 60, as well as people with health conditions making them more vulnerable.
The announcement came on the same day EU negotiators reached an agreement on the bloc's next seven-year budget and a coronavirus support package worth a total of some 1.8 trillion euros (£1.6 trillion).
The deal, clinched between European Council negotiators representing member countries and the European Parliament, must still officially be endorsed by the bloc's ministers and the full EU legislature. The budget is meant to take effect on January 1.
"We have finally made it," Germany's EU envoy, Michael Clauss, said. "We urgently need the recovery fund up and running in order to cushion the dire economic consequences of the pandemic."
Mr Clauss expressed hope that all member countries and legislators understand the need to move quickly to endorse the package, which includes a 750 billion euro (£670 billion) emergency coronavirus recovery fund.
EU politicians said they secured an extra 16 billion euros (£14.3 billion) over what EU leaders were previously offering, and that most of this money would help protect European citizens against the impact of the pandemic.
One billion euros (£892 million) would be used to respond to future crises.
The member countries said the package improves education and research programs and puts more emphasis on climate change and environmental policies.