There will not be sufficient doses of a coronavirus vaccine to cover the wider EU population before 2022, officials said today in an internal meeting.

If an effective antidote does become available, only a share of the 450 million people who live in the European Union will receive it before the end of 2021.

The warning comes as governments remain split on vaccination plans.

The 27 member states in the EU have secured more than one billion doses of potential Covid-19 vaccines from three drugmakers.

The trade bloc is also negotiating the booking of another one billion vials with other companies.

As a global scramble to secure shots accelerates, experts caution that not every potential vaccine may prove to be effective.

"There will not be sufficient doses of Covid-19 vaccines for the entire population before the end of 2021," a European Commission official told diplomats from EU states in a closed-door meeting, according to a report made to Reuters.

A second official confirmed the statement. An EU Commission spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

There is still no effective Covid-19 vaccine, but the first shots could be available at the beginning of next year, the Commission said earlier in October.

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Meanwhile, Novavax has enrolled over 5,500 extra participants in a UK trial now involving 15,000 volunteers.

The increased enrollment is likely to facilitate assessment of safety and efficacy in a shorter time period.

Novavax expects this trial to be fully enrolled by the end of November with interim data expected as soon as early in the first quarter of 2021.

"We are pleased with the significant progress made in our Phase 3 clinical trial since it began in the UK at the end of September," said Gregory Glenn, president of research and development at Novavax.

Meanwhile, a study by scientists at Imperial College London has found that antibodies against coronavirus declined rapidly in the British population during the summer.