The European Union on Wednesday inked a deal to buy 300 million doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer experimental Covid-19 vaccine, which early analysis shows is 90 percent effective in preventing the virus.
The European Commission secured the deal after months of "working tirelessly to secure doses of potential vaccines", commission president Ursula von der Leyen said, adding bloc hopes to "deploy it quickly, everywhere in Europe".
The vaccine candidate, the result of a collaboration between German pharma firm BioNTech and its US partner Pfizer, has performed much better than most experts had hoped.
An EU health agency chief told AFP the first EU vaccinations may happen, at the earliest, in the first three months of 2021.
The US and UK already have already secured contracts to purchase the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine.
Peter Liese, of the European Parliament's Committee on Public Health, told Deutsch Welle the vaccine, which is being produced "mainly in Germany", would be delivered "at the same time to every partner that has signed the deal".
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For any vaccine to be available within the European Union, it must first get approval from the European Medicines Agency.
Thanks to three separate deals with other pharmaceutical companies, the EU is on track to buy nearly one billion doses of future vaccines.