The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has shown this Friday her confidence that the EU will already have enough doses in July to achieve the goal of vaccinating against Covid-19 by 70% of the adult population, in part “thanks to the enormous efforts” of BioNTech and Pfizer to increase their production capacity.

In statements in the framework of the visit that the head of the Community Executive has made to the Pfizer plant in Puurs (Belgium), the German has also detailed that she hopes to conclude “in the next few days” the contract for the purchase of 1.8 billion doses of the serum developed by the German laboratory and the American pharmaceutical company, which will be delivered between 2022 and 2023.

“Thanks to the tremendous efforts of BioNTech and Pfizer, I am confident that we will have enough doses to vaccinate 70% of the adult population already in July “, has expressed Von der Leyen, accompanied by the CEO of Pfizer, Albert Bourla, the co-founder and director of medical operations of BioNTech, Özlem Türeci, and the Belgian Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo.

The president of the European Commission has remarked that the EU vaccination campaign “is on the right track” Despite the “difficulties” encountered at the beginning of it, mitigated thanks to the “broad portfolio” of vaccines that it had acquired and the performance of “strong and reliable suppliers such as BioNTech and Pfizer”.

Specifically, Von der Leyen has pointed out that the EU has this week exceeded the threshold of 150 million doses delivered to the Member States, of which 123 million have already been administered.

New contract with Pfizer and BioNTech

The German has remarked that the Pfizer plant in Puurs was the first to produce on a large scale vaccines based on messenger RNA technology, or mRNA, which is the technology that Brussels is most committed to in its vaccination campaign.

In fact, the head of the Community Executive has advanced that she hopes to close “in the next few days” the new contract with these two pharmaceutical companies that foresees the acquisition of 1.8 billion doses to be distributed between 2022 and 2023 to the Member States to cover a reinforcement of immunization, the needs before the appearance of new variants and the vaccination of minors.

“This consolidate the leadership of the EU in mRNA technologies “, stressed Von der Leyen, who also welcomed the fact that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) gave the green light this Friday to an increase of 20% in the production capacity of the Belgian plant in Puurs.

For his part, the CEO of Pfizer has specified that the improvements in production processes at the plant they have allowed the average manufacturing time to be reduced from about 100 days to 60. Bourla also pointed out that the company is on the way to “exceed” its delivery commitments to EU countries.

“We will deliver 250 million doses by the end of the second quarter, four times more than in the first quarter, “he emphasized in line with what was recently agreed with the European Commission, and later added that from May the company expects to be able to produce about 100 million doses per month at the Belgian plant.

In total, the current agreements between Pfizer and the Community Executive contemplate the 600 million dose distribution of its Covid-19 vaccine to EU countries before the end of the year.

For his part, Türeci has praised the power of public-private partnerships to respond to these types of health emergencies and has ensured that another lesson from this pandemic is that “science and technology can make a difference”.

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