To fight Omicron, EU to get 20 million extra vaccines

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Dec 19, 2021, 10:20 PM(IST)

Europe is currently bracing for a new wave of Covid infections due to Omicron variant of coronavirus Photograph:( AFP )

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It is expected that Omicron would become the dominant Covid strain in the EU by mid-January

The European Commission said on Sunday that European Union countries will get additional 20 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine to fight Omicron virus that is fast spreading. The vaccines will be made available in first three months of year 2022.

Europe is currently bracing for a new Covid-19 wave driven by Omicron variant which is highly transmissible and mutated. The festive season of Christmas is fast approaching.

Many countries are ramping up their vaccination drives and reimposing travel restrictions and other curbs to try to put a break on infections weeks after the variant was first detected in South Africa.

Member states will get an additional five million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab in January, five million in February and 10 million in March, the Commission said in a statement.

Also Read | UK health minister says it may be 'too late to react' to Omicron as COVID-19 cases continue to rise

"These doses come on top of the already scheduled 195 million doses from Pfizer-BioNTech, bringing the total number of deliveries in the first quarter to 215 million."

Full vaccination and boosters are "now even more urgent than ever" given the "expected rapid increase in infections due to the Omicron variant".

The EU is due to receive 650 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech jabs in total in 2022.

Also Read | Now, Germany imposes restrictions on UK travellers to check Omicron spread

Omicron is expected to become the dominant strain by mid January in the EU, where 67 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.

(With inputs from agencies)

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