Pfizer-BioNTech has said it will deliver an extra 100 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine to the European Union this year.

It follows a decision by the EU to exercise an option to purchase an additional 100 million doses.

Under the EU vaccination scheme, Ireland would be entitled to over one million of these vaccines, if it wanted to purchase the jabs.

The company said the move will bring the total number of doses supplied to the EU to 600 million this year.

Pfizer said that all of the vaccines will be delivered in 2021.

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"We remain committed to moving as quickly and safely as possible to bring this vaccine to more people in Europe, as the deadly virus continues to wreak havoc across the continent," said Albert Bourla, chairman and CEO of Pfizer.

"To date, we have met all of our supply commitments to the EC and we plan to deliver 250 million doses to the EU in Q2, a four-fold increase on Q1's agreed quantity."

Sean Marett, Chief Commercial Officer of BioNTech, said: "The additional 100 million doses ... will further help to support the acceleration of the vaccination programme throughout the EU.

"We now intend to deliver a total of 600 million doses to the EU this year, which covers two thirds of the population and represents the largest cumulative supply agreement [for our vaccine] that we have agreed to date globally."

Pfizer has also said that the licence approval by regulators for the interval between its Covid-19 vaccine is 21 days.

AstraZeneca 'disappointed' over shortfalls

AstraZeneca Ireland President Daniel Wygal has said the company was "disappointed" that "lower-than-expected output" led to shortfalls earlier this year.

It had tried to compensate by accessing international supply networks, however, it "met with export restrictions", he said.

AstraZeneca said it was "working tirelessly" to accelerate the supply of Covid-19 vaccines.

In a letter to the Oireachtas Health Committee, Mr Wygal said he wants to "re-iterate our full commitment" to "supply the agreed quantities ... to the EU".

The company said it expected to deliver 100 million doses to the EU in the first half of 2021, of which 29.8 million were delivered in the first quarter of the year.