The European Union to actualize a multi-billion dollar deal for 300 million doses of BioNtech - Pfizer vaccine that offers a 90% success rate.
The European Union expressed optimism that covid-19 vaccinations could start early next year. This news is highly welcome as the United Kingdom’s official coronavirus death toll exceeded 50,000 while Italy recorded over 33,000 new infections in the last 24 hours raising their past a million.
President of the EU commission Ursula von der Leyen described the recent breakthrough by the US and German pharmaceutical giants as “Great news” also mentioning the recently signed contract for up to “300 million doses." The vaccine is headed for emergency authorization by the United States Food and Drug Administration in the third week of the month.
.@EU_Commission arbeitet unermüdlich daran, Dosen COVID19-Impfstoffe zu sichern.
Morgen billigen wir einen Vertrag von ca. 300 Mill Dosen des bisher vielversprechendsten, BioNTech & Pfizer-Impfstoffs. Dies ist der 4Vertrag. Weitere folgen.
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) November 10, 2020
Exact financial details on the deal are yet to be disclosed but it could range at $5.85 billion given the United States earlier secured a deal for 100 million doses at $1.95 billion - $19.50 a dose. The mRNA vaccine will be delivered in a two-dose regimen where 150 million EU residents get vaccinated under it. All EU bound doses will be produced at BioNTech's German facilities and Pfizer site in Belgium, the same applying to distribution.
Also read: Germany goes into a 'light lockdown'
Other contracted deals are with Sanofi, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson for their covid-19 shots. Out of 100 potential vaccine candidates promoted across the globe, none has received the green light for mass use. Russia’s much-touted vaccine, Sputnik V, announced a 92% effective rate on Wednesday, prompting a rally in global markets. Trials for the Russian vaccine are currently underway in the United Arab Emirates, Belarus, and Venezuela involving 40,000 volunteers across 29 medical centers. Interim research data on the findings will be published in leading medical academic journals.
Situation in Europe
The death toll in Spain has surged past 40,000 with overall infections racing past 1.4 million, only second to France within the EU. In the past 24 hours, authorities have recorded over 19,000 new infections, indicating a full blowout in the second wave. A situation that is exerting a lot of pressure on intensive care unit (ICU) beds.
Greece, France, Portugal, Belgium, U.K, and Germany are all on lockdown to limit the spread and prevent their healthcare facilities from being overrun. The total European count of covid-19 infections is at 13,339,600 with over 317,525 deaths. Sweden has taken a different approach from other European countries but has ramped up the rhetoric on persuading people to take the virus seriously.
In the United States, 200,000 new infections were registered on Tuesday with 1,535 losing their lives within the past 24 hours.
Popular consensus considers a vaccine as the best chance to break the wave of infections and movement restrictions since covid-19 first emerged in China. Experts also warn that the launch of a vaccine does not necessarily mark the end of the pandemic.