ANKARA, TURKEY - OCTOBER 27: A health care worker holds an injection syringe of the phase 3 vaccine trial, developed against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by the U.S. Pfizer and German BioNTech company, at the Ankara University Ibni Sina Hospital in Ankara, Turkey on October 27, 2020. This vaccine candidate, within the scope of phase 3 studies, was injected to volunteers in Ankara University Ibni Sina Hospital. (Photo by Dogukan Keskinkilic/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The European Union will authorize a contract on Wednesday for up to 300 million doses of a candidate vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has announced. 

“Once this vaccine becomes available, our plan is to deploy it quickly, everywhere in Europe,” von der Leyen said in a statement on Tuesday. 

“This will be the fourth contract with a pharmaceutical company to buy vaccines. And more will come. Because we need to have a broad portfolio of vaccines based on different technologies.” 

The EU’s announcement comes after drug giant Pfizer announced Monday that an early look at data from its coronavirus vaccine shows it is more than 90% effective – a much-better-than-expected efficacy.

“This is the most promising vaccine so far. A safe and effective vaccine is our best chance to beat coronavirus and return to our normal lives,” von der Leyen said, highlighting that the EU had already begun working with member states to prepare national vaccine campaigns.

“We are almost there. In the meantime, let us be prudent, and stay safe,” she said. 

The European Commission has also signed contracts for vaccines with drug giants Sanofi-GSK, Astra Zeneca and Janssen Pharmaceutica NV.

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