Over 1bn COVID-19 vaccines reserved by European Union

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Ursula von der Leyen
President of European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen speaking at the World Economic Forum

With its latest deal with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) for 400 million doses of its potential COVID-19 vaccine, the European Union (EU) seems to have secured more than 1 billion vaccine dosages for its citizens while the entire world scrambles to secure the cure for the pandemic. 

J&J’s was EU authorities’ third advance purchase contract with makers of COVID-19 vaccines after their deals with Swedish vaccine producer AstraZeneca and Paris-based Sanofi bringing the total quantity of secured dosages to 1.1 billion.

Once the vaccines gain necessary clearances from the EU drug regulator, the deal will allow 27 EU members to procure up to 400 million doses of potential COVID-19 vaccine for their citizens.

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Terms and conditions of the deal along with the pricing and liability have been kept confidential with the EU making a small undisclosed downpayment to J&J to secure the vaccines with the balance being paid during the actual order.

In its statement, the EU stated that it is still committed to allocating 500 million additional doses to poorer countries from mid-2021.

Earlier, authorities had secured 400 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine followed by another 300 million doses from Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline. Commenting on the status quo the EU stated that it is in advanced talks with CureVa, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna which will potentially allow the body to secure as much as 2 billion doses of the potential COVID-19 vaccine.

If the body concludes its on-going discussions with US-based pharmaceuticals Novavax for the seventh vaccine to be added to its kitty, the EU will move ahead of America and Britain who have secured deals with six different vaccine producers to date.

J&J’s vaccine which is developed by its subsidiary Janssen is based on vector technology which is also used by AstraZeneca to create its highly anticipated vaccine. Sanofi on the other hand

The J&J vaccine, which is being developed by its subsidiary Janssen, is based on vector technology, the same used by AstraZeneca. Sanofi on the other hand utilizes a GlaxoSmithKline developed adjuvant (a compound that enhances the immune response to the vaccine) as part of its solution.

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