She added that the continent is in a race against time, and “the faster we reach the target of vaccinating 70% of the adult population in Europe, the better the chances we have of containing the virus,” adding that vaccination is picking up speed in Europe.
Today we have reached 100 million vaccinations in the EU. A milestone we can be proud of!
We are also accelerating the delivery of vaccines.
During the statement, she also announced that vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and BioNTech will bring forward their delivery of 50 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine for the continent to April.
“These doses were initially foreseen for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2021, but now they will become available in the second quarter. This will bring the total doses delivered by the companies to 250 million in the second quarter,” said von der Leyen.
She added that these doses will be distributed based on the population of the member states, and that “this will substantially help consolidate the rollout of vaccination campaigns.”
For Belgium, the Taskforce Vaccination assumed this could result in 1.28 million extra doses over the next two months, according to reports from VRT News.
This could help partly make up for the temporary delay of vaccine deliveries from Johnson & Johnson, which announced on Tuesday that it would be halting deliveries after six cases of blood clots came to light in the US.
Von der Leyen added that the Union entered new negotiations with the companies on Wednesday for a third contract, which will foresee the delivery of 1.8 billion additional doses of the vaccine over a period of 2022 and 2023.
As of Tuesday, the EU member states have received over 126 million doses of vaccines.