Italy will get over half a million more Covid-19 vaccine doses by the end of March under a new European Union scheme, premier’s office sources said after reports of new delays and shortfalls.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has negotiated the acquisition of a further four million doses from producers including BioNTech-Pfizer, the sources said, above and beyond what was already envisaged by the first quarter delivery programme.

“For Italy that amounts to an additional quota of 532,000 doses which will be delivered in the last two weeks of March,” the sources said.

They said these additional shots would “help tackle the emergence of new contagions and variants”, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Italian drugs agency AIFA, meanwhile, said that a higher number of doses should be got from each phial of vaccine. And Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese said that Italy must guard against infiltration of the vaccine business by criminal groups.

–IANS

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