Italy expects to get 3.4 million doses of Pfizer vaccine in January: government source

FILE PHOTO: Syringes are seen in front of displayed Biontech and Pfizer logos in this illustration taken November 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy expects to receive 3.4 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer PFE.N and its partner BioNTech 22UAy.DE probably in January, a government source told Reuters on Tuesday.

Italy, one of the European countries hardest hit by the pandemic, will be allocated 13.6% of the first 200 million doses made available to the European Union, the source said.

The European Commission will approve a contract for the supply of the COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the two companies, its President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement on Tuesday.

The EU bloc is set to secure 200 million doses with an option for another 100 million.

“Under the common framework agreement, Italy will receive some 13.6% of the first 200 million doses, with 3.4 million doses expected as early as in January, provided the European Medicine Authority approves the vaccine in December,” the source said.

The initial supply would immunize 1.7 million people as the vaccine requires an initial shot followed by a booster 21 days later.

On Monday, Pfizer said its experimental COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective based on initial trial results, in a major victory in the fight against the global pandemic.

Italy has reported over 960,000 cases of COVID-19 to date and 41,750 deaths.

Reporting by Elvira Pollina; Editing by Susan Fenton