European Commission approved on a new Covid vaccine contract with Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, paving the way for as many as 1.8 billion doses for 2021-2023, President Ursula von der Leyen said Saturday.
The contract is for a guaranteed 900 million shots, with an option for a further 900 million.
The new agreement includes clauses to allow the donation and reselling of doses, according to a diplomatic memo seen by Bloomberg. It also foresees monthly delivery schedules and sanctions for potential delays.
The commission is also in talks with Moderna Inc., Novavax Inc. and Valneva SE for additional shots. Meanwhile, deliveries of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine remain sparse as investigations continue into contaminated batches at a US plant.
Still, von der Leyen said last week that she expects enough doses of all vaccines to inocul ate the bulk of the bloc’s population to be available by July.
Saturday’s contract announcement comes after the commission chief said she’s open to discussing President Joe Biden’s proposal to waive patents on Covid-19 vaccines.
Von der Leyen said at a conference of European Union leaders on Friday that vaccine manufacturers in the bloc have exported about half of the shots they’ve produced, some 200 million in total, and urged the U.S. to match that effort.