European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the European Union (EU) will receive 100 million Covid-19 vaccine doses per month from April, bringing the total to 300 million for the second quarter of this year.
Von der Leyen told the media on Monday that about 20 million doses were delivered to the bloc in January and 30 million in February, and some 50 million doses are expected to be delivered in March, reports Xinhua news agency.
She based her prediction on the production plans of pharmaceutical companies and the possible approval of new vaccines by the EU drugs regulator.
The EU has set a goal of inoculating 70 per cent of its adult population by the end of summer.
It had administered 29 million vaccine doses by the end of February, covering 6.4 per cent of the whole population.
“We’re looking at a doubling of doses per month in comparison to what we have in March. This is for the upcoming quarter,” Eric Mamer, the European Commission’s chief spokesperson, said at a press briefing on Monday.
However, the Commission stopped short of identifying the vaccine producers that may join the list of suppliers.
Mamer declined to comment on whether the 300 million vaccine doses foreseen for the second quarter of 2021 would include deliveries from Johnson & Johnson, the American vaccine manufacturer whose conditional marketing authorisation is pending with the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
The EU started to roll out vaccines in late 2020 with the approval of jabs from Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca.
However, the launch was far from smooth sailing due to delays in deliveries, notably from AstraZeneca.
“We expect all companies to deliver on their commitment as signed in the advanced purchasing agreements,” Mamer said.
The EU’s vaccine strategy authorises the Commission to negotiate on behalf of the member states with pharmaceutical companies to secure a diverse portfolio of vaccines.
However, the recent shortage of doses has pushed some member countries to sign supply contracts with Russian and Chinese vaccine developers.