Puurs, Belgium, 23 April 2021 (dpa/MIA) – The European Union should have enough Covid-19 shots to hit its first major vaccination target months faster than expected, according to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
“I’m now confident that we will have sufficient doses to vaccinate 70 per cent of the adult population in the European Union already in July,” the EU executive chief said during a visit to US firm Pfizer’s production site in the Belgian town of Puurs on Friday.
Until now, this target was set for September 21.
Recently, European Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton indicated that sufficient vaccine would be delivered to EU countries by mid-July to protect around 70 per cent of adults.
According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s vaccine tracker, 24 per cent of adults in the EU and European Economic Area have had at least one dose, and 9 per cent have been fully vaccinated.
The EU vaccination campaign got off to a difficult start with bottlenecks and delivery delays, von der Leyen said on Friday.
“But we were able to counter them due to our broad vaccine portfolio and also thanks to strong and reliable suppliers like BioNTech-Pfizer,” she said at a joint press conference with the two companies’ chief executives and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.
A planned new contract with the German-US pharmaceutical venture providing 1.8 billion doses up until 2023 should be finished within days, von der Leyen said.