Europe backs expansion of Pfizer's Belgium facility making COVID-19 vaccine

An employee works at the factory of U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer during a visit by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (not pictured) to oversee the production of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine, in Puurs, Belgium April 23, 2021. John Thys /Pool via REUTERS

June 1 (Reuters) - The European health regulator on Tuesday recommended the approval of additional manufacturing and filling lines at Pfizer's (PFE.N) site in Puurs, Belgium, which makes its COVID-19 vaccine.

The recommendation is expected to "have a significant and immediate impact on the supply of Comirnaty, the COVID-19 vaccine developed by BioNTech (22UAy.DE) and Pfizer, in the European Union," the European Medicines Agency said.

The EU in May signed a new contract with the companies to receive 1.8 billion doses of their vaccine for 2021-2023, to cover booster shots, donations and reselling of doses. read more

The bloc is on track to meet its goal of inoculating 70% of its adult population by summer, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted on May 9.

The EU is confident of having enough vaccines to immunise its entire eligible population by the end of September, well beyond that initial goal, according to a document presented to the bloc's leaders on May 25.

It expects to receive over a billion doses by then from four drugmakers, including Pfizer/BioNTech. read more

The EU on Friday authorized Pfizer/BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for use in children as young as 12, paving the way for a broader roll-out in the bloc. read more

Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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