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EU to get four million extra Pfizer doses for ‘hotspots’

The European Union will receive an extra four million BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine doses over the next two weeks to be deployed to COVID-19 “hotspots,” European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen says.

The delivery — over and above already agreed supplies from the vaccine-maker — will go to affected border regions within the bloc to “help ensure or restore free movement of goods and people,” she says in a statement.

The announcement comes as the commission attempts to persuade at least six member states — including her home country Germany — to lift virus-related border restrictions deemed by Brussels to be excessive.

European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen addresses European lawmakers during a plenary session at the European Parliament in Brussels, January 20, 2021. (Francisco Seco/AP)

It also follows a trip by the leaders of Austria and Denmark to Israel to form a vaccine-producing alliance that exemplified broad criticism of the lack of deliveries so far under the commission’s pre-purchasing program.

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