BERLIN — As Germany’s leaders gather in Berlin to discuss the lagging vaccinations in the country and across the European Union, the bloc got some good news Monday morning when the pharmaceutical company BioNTech announced that it would make 75 million extra doses available in coming months.
BioNTech, a German company, helped develop the first Covid vaccine to be approved in the European Union. It had previously come under fire for admitting, just weeks after the beginning of the bloc’s vaccination drive, that it could temporarily deliver fewer doses than promised because of an upgrade at a production facility in Puurs, Belgium.
But the company will soon be producing shots at 13 different locations, including a new site in Marburg, Germany, Sierk Poetting, BioNTech’s chief operating officer, said in a statement on Monday.
And the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which has also come under criticism for not fulfilling European orders in a timely fashion, has agreed to deliver 40 million more doses by June, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, announced in a tweet on Sunday. That would be nine million more than originally planned.
At a virtual meeting on Monday to address criticism over the slow start of the rollout, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany was set to speak with national ministers, state governors, and representatives from the pharmaceutical industry.
Since vaccines began to receive approval in the European Union, starting at the end of December, about 1.9 million people in Germany, or around 2.2 percent of the population, have received at least one vaccination dose, according to the health authorities there. In the United States, more than 30 million people, or about 7.6 percent of the population, have received at least one shot.