The European Union and Pfizer-BioNTech have signed a deal for up to 1.8 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The bloc’s biggest contract to date would cover its entire population, marking a significant ramp up in its fight against the coronavirus.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the deal in a tweet, writing it is for a ” for guaranteed 900 million doses (+900 million options).”
Von der Leyen says other contracts and vaccines are coming for the 27-member bloc with a population of around 450 million.
The enormous Pfizer-BioNTech contract for the two-dose shot would help cover future unknowns including whether a booster shot will be required and what will happen with circulating variants.
The agreement calls for vaccine production to happen within the EU. Delivery will likely extend into 2023.
Last month, the commission announced 250 million Pfizer-BioNTech doses would be delivered by June. The EU’s executive arm approved use of the vaccine late last year after the European Medicines Agency, gave its authorization.