Coronavirus: Italy to get AstraZeneca COVID-19 shots in early 2021

Published: Updated:
Enable Read mode
100% Font Size

Italy will get 16 million shots of the potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by British drug maker AstraZeneca in the first months of 2021 under a supply deal agreed at a European Union level, a government source said.

This initial supply will immunize 8 million people as the AstraZeneca vaccine will require an initial shot followed by a booster, the source told Reuters on Tuesday.

For more coronavirus news, visit our dedicated page.

“Italy will receive 4 million shots as early as January and it will receive a further 12 million within the following three months,” the source said, cautioning that this timing was subject to approval of the AstraZeneca and University of Oxford developed vaccine by the European Medicine Authority.

Rome has already booked a total of 70 million doses and Italian biotech firm IRBM, which is cooperating with AstraZeneca in developing the vaccine, told Reuters all of the shots will be delivered by mid-2021.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

“IRBM aims to distribute a first tranche of 2-3 million doses, already produced, as soon as there will be validation by the regulatory authorities, whether in December or January,” the group’s managing director Matteo Liguori told Reuters.

Liguori added that IRBM has been ready to go for some time, having stocked up in advance on required functional material, such as vials and reagents, and had increased its equipment and instruments in order to triple their production capacity.

Italy, the first Western country to be hit by the pandemic, became the sixth in the world to surpass 50,000 coronavirus related deaths on Monday, and second in Europe after Britain.

Read more:

Coronavirus: Italy’s death toll tops 50,000, say officals

Coronavirus: Italian study shows COVID-19 emerged in Italy earlier than thought

Coronavirus: AstraZeneca will have 200 mln COVID-19 vaccines by end of 2020

The doses from AstraZeneca are in addition to the initial 3.4 million Italy is due to receive from Pfizer and its partner BioNTech, which are also expected as early as January.

Under the EU supply agreement, Italy will receive a total of 27 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, or 13.6 percent of the 200 million initially purchased by Europe.

AstraZeneca said on Monday its vaccine on average prevented 70 percent of COVID-19 cases in late-stage trials. This rose to 90 percent in a group of participants who accidentally received a half dose followed by a full dose.

AstraZeneca said it will have as many as 200 million doses by the end of 2020, around four times as many as U.S. competitor Pfizer. And it said 700 million doses could be ready globally as soon as the end of the first quarter of 2021.

The EU has secured up to 400 million doses of AstraZeneca’s experimental vaccine.

Top Content Trending