Foreign Desk Report
BRUSSELS: The European Union has agreed to buy a potential COVID-19 vaccine from Sanofi and GSK in its second such deal to secure supplies, as a deadline for signing up to the World Health Organization’s vaccine purchase programme looms. The deal will see the French and British drugmakers, which have teamed up to manufacture a recombinant protein-based vaccine they hope to get approved next year, provide the EU with up to 300 million doses, according to a tweet from European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides.
Friday’s agreement confirms an announcement made on July 31 by the two companies and follows an earlier deal between the EU and AstraZeneca for up to 400 million shots.
The European Union’s latest deal comes on deadline day for members of the WHO to join its COVAX scheme, which aims to buy COVID-19 vaccines and ensure immunisations are then fairly and efficiently distributed. In return for the right to the doses, the European Commission will finance part of the upfront costs faced by vaccine producers. The vaccine doses themselves will be bought by EU countries.