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EU signs deal with Novavax for up to 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses

The European Commission has approved a supply deal with US firm Novavax to purchase up to 200 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine as part of the EU’s strategy to diversify its vaccine portfolio. This will add one more protein-based vaccine, a platform that has shown promise in clinical trials, in the European Union’s vaccine portfolio.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly confirmed Ireland’s participation in the European Commission Advanced Purchase Agreement with Novavax. “It is important that we maintain a broad portfolio of vaccines for the future and Ireland will play a leading role in ensuring vaccines are distributed around the world,” the minister said on Twitter.

Under the terms of the agreement, EU member states will be able to purchase up to 100 million doses of the Novavax vaccine, with an option to buy an additional 100 million doses until 2023. However, the European Medicines Agency (EMA)  is currently reviewing it, and the shot must be approved.

According to the Commission, the first Novavax doses will be delivered to EU countries in the last quarter of this year.

Novavax reached a preliminary agreement with the EU in December 2020, but a final agreement was delayed due to production problems.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “As new coronavirus variants are spreading in Europe and around the world, this new contract with a company that is already testing its vaccine successfully against these variants is an additional safeguard for the protection of our population.”

Novavax is the seventh firm with which the European Union has signed a supply agreement for coronavirus vaccines.

The bloc has reserved a total of 2.4 billion doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in three separate contracts. It also purchased 460 million Moderna vaccine doses.

Some 405 million doses of CureVac’s mRNA vaccine have also been reserved, despite the fact that the jab has so far shown minimal efficacy in testing and has not yet been authorised by the EMA.

It also has supply contracts with AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, both of which produce viral vector vaccines against the disease. However, following reports of health concerns and supply issues, the EU has reduced its reliance on these shots.

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