EU hopeful that vaccine will be available by end of 2020

FILE PHOTO: Small bottles labeled with a "Vaccine COVID-19" sticker and a medical syringe are seen in this illustration taken taken April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The European Union said it hopes it will get 30 million doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year, the first batch in a deal struck with British drugmaker AstraZeneca, a European Commission official said.

Such a first batch would cover 6-7% of the EU population.

The European Commission has made a 336-million-euro down payment to AstraZeneca to secure at least 300 million doses of its potential vaccine, with an option to buy a further 100 million doses.

“We want all the member states to have the same price but also to have the vaccine at the same time. It means that, for instance, for AstraZeneca, we will have I would say at the end of this year a certain number of doses – hopefully 30 million doses,” the official said.

EU to purchase 300 million doses of the vaccine
European Commission to purchase COVID-19 vaccine

“These doses will be distributed pro-rata among the member states and so on and so forth until we get to a total of the 300 million doses we have negotiated.”

Malta has been allocated 330,000 doses of a potential Covid-19 vaccine through an agreement reached by the European Commission with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

Malta allocated 330,000 doses of potential Covid-19 vaccine
Malta allocated 330,000 doses of potential Covid-19 vaccine through EU agreement

The official noted that the European Commission itself would not own a single vial. The EU’s 27 member countries, which have all opted into the deal, would have to purchase doses. They would also decide themselves who to vaccinate first.

The commission is also in advanced talks with Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, Moderna and CureVac for their potential vaccines.