By Omer Tugrul Cam
BRUSSELS (AA) - The European Union has placed an order for over 180 million doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine adapted for the omicron variant, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Thursday.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the European Council, Von der Leyen said EU leaders had triggered clauses in contracts signed with vaccine-makers that allow them to ask for the development of an adapted vaccine within 100 days.
EU's drug regulator was working to assess the adapted vaccine, she added.
She noted that Europe can now produce 300 million vaccine doses every month.
With more than one billion doses sent to the rest of the world, the EU is the largest exporter of COVID-19 vaccines, she added.
She also asked EU countries to speed up their vaccination campaigns in the wake of the omicron variant.
Von der Leyen also clarified the validity period of COVID certificates used in travel, which have been the subject of discussions within the EU recently.
Reiterating that it is recommended to take a booster shot six months after full vaccination, she said the certificates will be valid for an additional three months until the booster is given.