EU about to sign supply deal for Pfizer COVID vaccine - lawmaker

11/09/2020 | 09:56am

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union is about to sign a contract for millions of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, a prominent EU lawmaker said on Monday.

The remark was made hours after the two companies said their experimental vaccine was more than 90% effective, in what could be a major victory in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The European Commission, which is negotiating with vaccine makers on behalf of EU states, said in September it had concluded exploratory talks with U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech over the supply of 200 million doses of their potential COVID-19 shot.

However, a deal has not been announced yet.

"According to my information, the respective contract is about to be signed," said Peter Liese, the EU lawmaker who leads on health matters for the largest grouping in the European Parliament, comprising centre-right lawmakers.

"There is an agreement that Europeans will be provided with hundreds of millions of vaccines," he added in an emailed statement.

A spokesman for the Commission declined to comment on whether Pfizer's announcement on the efficacy of its vaccine would speed up the signature of a supply deal.

The Commission has said previously that the 27 EU states could also have an option to order another 100 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

The EU has already signed supply deals with AstraZeneca, Sanofi and Johnson & Johnson for their potential COVID-19 shots.

The United States, Japan and Britain have already announced supply deals with Pfizer/BioNTech.

Data on the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine have been assessed since early October by the EU drug regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), under an extraordinary rolling review meant to speed up the possible approval of the shot.

The EMA said in an email to Reuters on Monday it had not received the latest results from large-scale trials, but it had already evaluated non-clinical data.

It added that it was currently assessing a second batch of data on the quality of the vaccine, including those related to its ingredients and the way it is produced.

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; Editing by Mark Potter; Editing by Toby Chopra)

By Francesco Guarascio

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