The European Commission said on Tuesday it had signed a joint procurement contract with Spanish pharmaceutical firm HIPRA for the supply of its protein COVID-19 vaccine, which will be available if approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

The European Union's executive said in a statement that 14 countries are participating in the agreement, under which they can purchase up to 250 million doses.

"With COVID-19 infections on the rise in Europe, we need to ensure maximum preparedness as we head into the autumn and winter months," European Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides said in the statement.

"The HIPRA vaccine adds yet another option to complement our broad vaccine portfolio for our member states and citizens," she said, adding that an increase in vaccination and boosting would be essential over the coming months.

The HIPRA bivalent recombinant protein vaccine, which is currently under rolling review by the EMA, is being developed as a booster dose in previously immunised persons 16 years and older.


(Reporting by John Chalmers, editing by Marine Strauss)