The European Commission has said the bloc will receive a shipment of 107 million Covid jabs from three pharma firms before the end of March, significantly below initial targets, as it battles to speed up its vaccine rollout.
The shipments come amid an ongoing dispute between the EU and AstraZeneca over the biotech firm’s failure to meet its original delivery targets – providing only 30 million doses, down from the initial offering of 120 million vaccines – before the end of the month.
A Commission spokeswoman confirmed the figures at a news conference on Wednesday, stating that Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna will deliver a combined total of around 77.5 million doses, as the EU turns to other pharmaceutical companies to fill the gaps left by AstraZeneca and help increase the inoculation rate across member states.
Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson has said it will start providing its Covid vaccine to the EU from April 19. The bloc will initially order 200 million doses, with an option to purchase a further 200 million. The J&J jab is the first Covid vaccine delivered in just one injection, and is believed to be easier to store than some of the other offerings, allowing swifter distribution.
The EU and AstraZeneca dispute has also boiled over into something of a diplomatic row with the UK over the pharmaceutical company’s failure to meet its targets to the 27 member states, while ensuring a consistent supply to Britain.
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