Health

Roundup: EU to pen Pfizer contract, countries cautiously prepare for vaccines

(Update 1: Adds Tuesday’s figures for Spain)

Madrid Desk, Nov 10 (efe-epa).- The European Union is poised to sign a contract for 300 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, which it plans to roll out “quickly” once it becomes available, officials said Tuesday.

The news comes just as EU member states landed a political agreement with members of the European Parliament to approve the bloc’s 1.8 trillion-euro ($2T) long-term budget, which includes a 750 billion-euro coronavirus recovery fund.

Meanwhile, individual member states began to tentatively set out plans for a future vaccination program.

EU

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the bloc would on Wednesday authorize a contract for 300 million doses of a future vaccine from American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German developer BioNTech.

The manufacturers on Monday announced that their candidate vaccine against Covid-19 had demonstrated a 90% efficacy rate according to interim analysis from its late-stage clinical trials, the final step before it applies for regulatory approval later this month.

It means the first immunizations, which are administered in two doses, could be given to health workers and at-risk people before the end of the year.

BioNTech confirmed Tuesday that it planned to produce 50 million doses of the vaccine in 2020 and manufacture 1.3 billion more in 2021.

“A safe and effective vaccine is our best chance to beat coronavirus and return to our normal lives,” von der Leyen said in a statement. “We have already started working with Member States to prepare national vaccination campaigns.”

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