President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen announced on Tuesday that the Commission is about to sign a deal to buy up to 300 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine.
The vaccine, developed by BioNTech and Pfizer, is “the most promising vaccine so far,” von der Leyen said. “Once this vaccine becomes available, our plan is to deploy it quickly, everywhere in Europe.” Pfizer said the vaccine has shown itself to be 90 percent effective against coronavirus.
The Commission had already done deals with three other companies that would produce one billion doses for the EU’s 27 member states.
“And more will come. Because we need to have a broad portfolio of vaccines based on different technologies,” 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 is working on providing access to the vaccine to all EU member states at the same time, while also employing a priority system so that those most in need of protection receive the vaccination sooner.
If all goes according to plan, the Commission’s initiative will be a ringing endorsement of the importance and value of cooperation between EU member states. It will be a major win for the Commission itself.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the UK government said it will be ready to rollout a vaccine for the most at risk from next month.
PHOTO: Ursula von der Leyen Reuters