ATHENS (Reuters) - The European Union will be able to produce enough vaccines to achieve its target for immunity of its adult population by the middle of July, the EU executive's vaccine task force chief said in an interview with a Greek newspaper published on Sunday.
The European Commission has set a target of inoculating 70% of the EU's adult population by the end of this summer, banking on a big increase in vaccine deliveries to accelerate its vaccination drive.
"We are confident that we will be able to produce a sufficient number of vaccines to achieve the goal of collective immunity, which means that 70% of the adult population would have been vaccinated by mid-July," European Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said on Sunday in an interview with Greek weekly newspaper "To Vima".
The European Commission said earlier this week that it expects to seal the world's biggest vaccine supply deal within days, securing up to 1.8 billion doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine between 2021-2023.
Breton said that more than 400 million doses were expected to be delivered in the second quarter. "Member States need to be ready to speed up vaccinations," he said.
He added that vaccine production in Europe is doubling every month in 53 production facilities and that by the end of the year, annual production capacity will reach three billion doses with more production lines available.
(Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas; editing by Philippa Fletcher)