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Germany expects EU to sign supply deal for BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine soon

A person walks past the Pfizer Headquarters building in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 9, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Health Minister Jens Spahn expects the European Commision to sign a purchase agreement with BioNTech and its partner Pfizer for its potential vaccine against COVID-19 “in the coming days.”

“We will now bring this to a speedy conclusion,” Spahn told a news conference in Berlin. “We expect to conclude a contract in the next few days.”

The European Commission is in final stage talks with BioNTech-Pfizer over the supply of 200 million doses of their potential COVID-19 shot, with an option to buy another 100 million.

Spahn said he expects Germany will get up to 100 million doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine.

The companies said on Monday their vaccine was shown to be more than 90% effective, a major victory in the war against a virus that has killed over a million people and battered the world’s economy.

Spahn reiterated that he does not expect the vaccine to be available before the first quarter of 2021 but added that he expected it to get approved quickly.

Spahn said news about the vaccine “was a light at the end of the tunnel” and raised the hope that next winter would not be as bad as this one.

He said the European Union was pursuing an extraordinary rolling review process meant to speed up approval of the shot, but stressed that this did not mean that standards would be lowered.

Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Michelle Adair

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