NICOSIA, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- The European Commission (EC) signed its first deal to buy COVID-19 vaccines from pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides said on Thursday.
She told state television after signing the agreement at the EC premises in Nicosia with AstraZeneca that the deal makes it possible for EU countries to purchase up to 300 million vaccines.
According to the press release of the European Commission, through the contract, all EU members will be able to purchase 300 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with an option for further 100 million doses, to be distributed on a population-based pro-rata basis.
AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford joined forces to develop and distribute the university's potential recombinant adenovirus vaccine aimed at preventing COVID-19 infection, the EC said.
AstraZeneca's vaccine candidate is already in large-scale Phase II/III Clinical Trials.
According to the European Commission, it has concluded successful exploratory talks with four other pharmaceutical companies. Kyriakides said the EC is engaged in discussion with some more.
"The negotiations have resulted in the signing of the first agreement by which we make good our promise to safeguard a diversified vaccine portfolio for the protection of the public health of our citizens," she added.