Timeline of virus vaccine deals reveals EU’s lag behind UK

FILE - In this Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020 file photo, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson watches as nurse Rebecca Cathersides administers the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to Lyn Wheeler at Guy's Hospital in London. Britain is racing to vaccinate more than 15 million people by mid-February, and in an effort to ensure vaccines get to the right places at the right times, along with the syringes, alcohol swabs and protective equipment needed to administer them, the government has called in the army.

While Britain was quick and aggressive in negotiating vaccine deals early in the coronavirus pandemic, the European Union took a more cautious approach that is now hindering its efforts to fight the virus.

Here’s a look at when key vaccine deals were first announced:


  • Britain: May 25, 2020 for up to 100 million doses, announced by AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot.
  • EU: Aug. 27, for up to 400 million doses.



  • Britain: July 20, for 30 million doses.
  • EU: Nov. 11, for up to 300 million doses.



  • Britain: July 29, for 60 million doses.
  • EU: Sept. 18, for up to 300 million doses.



  • Britain: Aug. 14, for 30 million doses.
  • EU: Oct. 8, for up to 400 million doses.



  • Britain: Aug. 14, for 60 million doses.
  • EU: No contract announced to date. On Dec. 17, concluded exploratory talks on up to 200 million doses.



  • Britain: Sept. 14, agreement for up to 190 million doses; on Feb. 1, 2021, deal sealed for another 40 million.
  • EU: No contract signed to date. On Jan. 12, 2021, concluded exploratory talks on up to 60 million doses.


  • Britain: Nov. 16, for 5 million doses; on Nov. 29, a contract for 2 million more.
  • EU: Nov. 25, for up to 160 million doses.


  • EU: Nov. 17, for up to 405 million doses.
  • Britain: Feb. 5, 2021 for up to 50 million doses.

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