By Vatican News staff reporter
So far, the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine in the EU has been a rather bumpy one, and the European Union has come under pressure over its handling of vaccine orders in the last number of days.
The bloc is way behind Britain and the United States in its campaign to get people inoculated.
The situation is being blamed on a range of national problems, as well as an initial shortage of supply.
In particular, the European Union was heavily criticized over its threat to put controls on the Northern Ireland border to stop vaccines made in the EU from reaching the UK.
The EU subsequently backed down.
More vaccines on the way
However, despite these recent events, pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has agreed to deliver nine million additional doses of its coronavirus vaccine to the European Union during the first quarter of 2021.
The European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen said this supply was a “step forward.”
The new target of 40 million doses by the end of March is still only half what the British-Swedish company had originally aimed for before it announced a shortfall due to production problems, which caused a row between the company and the EU last week.
Meanwhile, Von der Leyen announced on Monday that Pfizer and German partner BioNTech will supply 75 million extra doses of their Covid-19 vaccine in the second quarter of the year.
The firm has said it can produce up to 1.3 billion doses around the world this year, adding 500 million doses would be available to the EU by the end of 2021.
A person receiving the Pfizer vaccine needs two doses to develop maximum protection.