Greek Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias confirmed on Tuesday, that Greece would by December have access to a first batch of three million doses of a planned Covid-19 vaccine currently in large-scale clinical studies.
Kikilias made the announcement after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen confirmed via her twitter account that the EU had concluded its first agreement on the purchase of up to 400 million doses of an under-development AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19.
“We deliver on our promises… We’re committed to safeguard the health of Europeans and our global partners,” she said adding that the deal was “the first cornerstone” in implementing the Commission’s Vaccines Strategy”.
The vaccine, which must first be cleared after passing the fourth phase of clinical trials, is being jointly developed by the University of Oxford and pharma company AstraZeneca.
Kikilias on Tuesday said that the vaccine was currently in phase three with phase four trials set to be completed in November.
“At the end of December, January, February, March, May and June, if all goes well, Greece will receive in seven partial deliveries its allocation of the agreed upon vaccine,” he told SKAI TV.
“We will begin with 700,000 doses in December which will be a single or double dose, and around 3 million doses in total,” he added.
AstraZeneca Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said he hopes the vaccine will be made available widely and rapidly, “with the first doses to be delivered by the end of 2020”, adding that the agreement reached with the European Commission would ensure that European citizens would have access to “AZD1222”, the name of the vaccine.
AstraZeneca has entered agreements with multiple countries, including the US and China, to produce more than two billion doses of the vaccine, which was licensed in April from the University of Oxford.
“I would like to thank AstraZeneca for its constructive engagement on this relevant agreement for our citizens. We will continue to work tirelessly to bring more candidates into a broad EU vaccines portfolio. A safe and effective vaccine remains the surest exit strategy to protect our citizens and the rest of the world from the coronavirus,” said European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides.