A traveler returning from Croatia has a COVID-19 test at a test center in Vienna, Austria, on Aug. 17, 2020. (Photo by Georges Schneider/Xinhua)

EU announces latest vaccine contract with Moderna

The EU said Tuesday it would sign a sixth contract for an upcoming coronavirus vaccine, this time for up to 160 million doses of a jab developed by US firm Moderna.

“According to the results of clinical trials, this vaccine could be highly effective against Covid-19,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

“Once the vaccine is indeed proven as safe and effective, every member state will receive it at the same time on a pro rata basis,” she said, in a brief statement.

Details of the contract, including any purchase options within the 160 million possible total number of doses, will be announced when it is signed on Wednesday.

Brussels has previously signed contracts for hundreds of millions of doses of possible future vaccines from Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi-GSK, AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BionNTech and CureVac.

Von der Leyen has said that the European Medicines Agency may next month give approval for the most promising vaccines, that have already submitted data from clinical trials.

“Between us we are setting up one of the most comprehensive Covid-19 vaccine portfolios in the world. This provides Europeans access to the most promising future vaccines under development so far,” she said.

“Of course, all vaccines from our portfolio will be evaluated very carefully by our European Medicines Agency, the EMA,” she added. 

“They will be only authorised and placed on the market if they are safe and if they are effective. Transparency here is crucial and of utmost importance.”