(adds Moderna, quotes, details)
BRUSSELS, Feb 17 (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Wednesday it had struck a deal for an extra 150 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine this year, nearly doubling the number of shots secured from the U.S. biotech firm for 2021.
Under the deal, which confirms what Reuters exclusively reported on Monday, the European Union also has the option to buy another 150 million doses next year.
The EU has already booked 160 million doses of the Moderna shot for this year. Deliveries began in January, with a target to supply 10 million doses by the end of March, although there have been some delays.
Moderna confirmed the deal.
With the new agreement, the EU has secured up to 2.6 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines from six vaccine makers, the Commission said. That compares with an EU population of around 450 million, although not all vaccines may pass clinical tests.
“This brings us closer to our major objective: ensure that all Europeans have access to safe and effective vaccines as quickly as possible,” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. (Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio and Sabine Siebold. Editing by Marine Strauss and Mark Potter)