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Brussels: The European Commission (EC) has signed its first deal to buy Covid-19 vaccines from pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides said.

She told the media after signing the agreement at the EC premises in Nicosia with AstraZeneca on Thursday that the deal makes it possible for EU countries to purchase up to 300 million vaccines, reports Xinhua news agency.

According to an EC statement, through the contract all EU members will be able to purchase 300 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with an option for further 100 million doses, to be distributed on a population-based pro-rata basis.

AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford joined forces to develop and distribute the university’s potential recombinant adenovirus vaccine aimed at preventing Covid-19 infection, the EC said.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate is already in large-scale Phase II/III Clinical Trials.

According to the EC, it has concluded successful exploratory talks with four other pharmaceutical companies.

Kyriakides said the EC is engaged in discussion with some more.

“The negotiations have resulted in the signing of the first agreement by which we make good our promise to safeguard a diversified vaccine portfolio for the protection of the public health of our citizens,” she added.

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Indo-Asian News Service or IANS is a private Indian news agency. The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service

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