Four EU countries struck a deal with pharma giant AstraZeneca for the supply of at least 300 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine that is currently being tested by the University of Oxford.
It was announced on Saturday by Germany's Health Ministry, which commented saying that "rapid, coordinate action of a group of [EU] member states creates added value for everyone in this crisis".
The agreement signed by the Anglo-Swedish company and Europe's Inclusive Vaccines Alliance will also make the vaccine available to any EU country that wishes to take part in the initiative.
The cost is expected to be offset by funding from the governments.
"This agreement will ensure that hundreds of millions of Europeans have access to the Oxford University’s vaccine following its approval," AstraZeneca's CEO Pascal Soriot said.
“With our European supply chain due to begin production soon, we hope to make the vaccine available widely and rapidly.''
AstraZeneca recently struck similar agreements with Britain, the US, Norway-headquartered Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and the international vaccine alliance Gavi.
An agreement also has been reached with the Serum Institute of India for 1 billion doses.
Testing of the COVID-19 vaccine began in the UK in April with over 1,000 healthy volunteers aged 18 to 55. Another round with 10,000 volunteers began in May.
Other companies, including US biotech company Moderna and French pharmaceutical company Sanofi, are pursuing the creation of a coronavirus vaccine - which is the only possible way to return safely to "normal life" in the post-COVID-19 world.