COVID19: EU seals deal for Moderna vaccine

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Brussels will approve a deal for 160 million doses of U.S. firm Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said on Tuesday.

“I am happy to announce that tomorrow we will approve a new contract to secure another COVID-19 vaccine,” Ursula von der Leyen said.

She said the deal “allows us to buy up to 160 million doses of a vaccine produced by Moderna.”

With the Moderna deal, the EU is now taking its potential stock of COVID-19 shots to nearly 2 billion.

The development follows the US pharmaceutical’s announcement that their vaccine has an efficacy of 94.5% in preventing COVID-19, based on interim data from a late-stage clinical trial.

Moderna’s vaccine is one of three vaccines under rolling assessment by the European Medicines Agency, with actual purchases commencing once a vaccine is approved by the EU’s drug regulator.

Doses from Moderna would be enough to vaccinate 80 million people as the vaccine is expected to be administered in two doses.

The delivery timeline is unknown as clinical trials will need to be completed and then pharmaceuticals will have to apply for approval from the EMA.

In August the EU’s executive Commission, which co-leads talks with vaccine makers on behalf of member states, said it had held preliminary talks with Moderna over a deal for 80 million doses and an option for 80 million more.

The terms of the contract have not been disclosed, with Reuters quoting an EU official source involved in talks with Moderna saying that the EU was seeking a price below $25 per dose.

Moderna Chief Executive Stephane Bancel said on Sunday the company would charge governments between $25 and $37 per dose, depending on the amount ordered.

The deal with Moderna is the sixth supply deal the EU has negotiated with COVID-19 vaccine makers and takes the total number of doses secured by the bloc to 1.96 billion for its population of around 450 million.

Earlier Brussels had struck deals with AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sanofi-GSK, Johnson & Johnson and CureVac.

It is also in talks to buy U.S. firm Novavax’s potential COVID-19 vaccine.

Cyprus will receive vaccine doses proportionate to its population as other EU countries start receiving it.