'This is progress,' says Health Minister as it is confirmed AstraZenica will supply 9m extra doses of vaccine to EU

'This is progress,' says Health Minister as it is confirmed AstraZenica will supply 9m extra doses of vaccine to EU

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has agreed to supply nine million additional doses of its coronavirus vaccine to the European Union during the first quarter, the bloc's executive branch said on Sunday. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg 

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has agreed to supply nine million additional doses of its coronavirus vaccine to the European Union during the first quarter, the bloc's executive branch said on Sunday.

The new target of 40 million doses by the end of March is still less than what the company had originally aimed for. 

Speaking after a call with seven vaccine makers on Sunday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that AstraZeneca would also begin deliveries one week sooner than scheduled and expand its manufacturing capacity in Europe.

Ms Von der Leyen, who has come under intense pressure over the European Commission's handling of the vaccine orders in recent days, tweeted: "Step forward on vaccines."

"AstraZenica will deliver 9 million additional doses in the first quarter (40 million in total) compared to last week’s offer & will start deliveries one week earlier than scheduled.

"The company will also expand its manufacturing capacity in Europe."

The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly said the news will mean more vaccines for Ireland in the next two months.

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