BRUSSELS, Belgium: The European Union has signed a contract to purchase up to 1.8 billion additional Covid vaccine doses from Pfizer.
Delivery of the vaccines will continue through 2023.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that her office "has just approved a contract for a guaranteed 900 million doses (+900 million options)."
The new contract, which is supported by all EU member states, not only ensures the manufacturing of the vaccines, but also agrees that all materials needed to manufacture the vaccines must come from the EU.
Such wording is designed to ensure production is not constrained by an inability to obtain materials need to create the vaccines.
To date, the European Commission has commitments to purchase 2.3 billion doses from half a dozen companies. "Other contracts and other vaccine technologies will follow," von der Leyen said in a Twitter message.
Observers note that this new contract points to the confidence the EU has in the Pfizer vaccine.
Earlier, Pfizer announced that it would provide the EU with an extra 50 million doses in the 2nd quarter of 2021, in a bid to stock shelves after AstraZeneca failed to supply agreed upon volumes of the vaccine.
Von der Leyen said that Pfizer has shown itself to be a reliable partner that honors its commitments.