BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine heads to EU as effectiveness against new strain tested
The European Union is gearing up for a vaccination campaign of unprecedented scale following regulatory approval for the shot on Monday
BioNTech is testing the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine it developed with Pfizer against a highly infectious new strain of the coronavirus as it prepares to send 12.5 mln doses to EU countries by the end of year. The European Union is gearing up for a vaccination campaign of unprecedented scale following regulatory approval for the shot on Monday.
The EU deliveries amount to more than half the 20 million doses expected to be available in the United States before the end of the year, BioNTech’s chief business officer, Sean Marett, told a briefing.
With two shots administered three weeks apart, the supplies are enough to vaccinate 6.25 million people in the bloc.
Preparations for the roll-out come as the identification of a highly infectious new strain of the coronavirus in Britain causes chaos across the region.
BioNTech Chief Executive Ugur Sahin said the company is testing whether the vaccine is effective against the variant strain and expects results in the next two weeks. “There is no reason to be concerned or worried until we get the data,” he said.
The 27 EU member states that want shots produced in BioNTech’s manufacturing sites in Germany, and Pfizer’s site in Puurs, Belgium, will receive them on Saturday so vaccinations can start on Sunday, chief financial officer Sierk Poetting said. “We have a very tight delivery schedule into all the European countries,” he said.
Pfizer and BioNTech have said they expect to produce 1.3 billion doses in 2021. Executives at the German biotech company said it is looking for ways to boost output cap