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Dutch production line to increase Moderna COVID-19 jab output

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By Euronews
A health worker fills a syringe with a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Chester County Government Services Center in West Chester, Pa, May 28, 2021
A health worker fills a syringe with a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Chester County Government Services Center in West Chester, Pa, May 28, 2021   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Matt Slocum
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Swiss drugmaker Lonza is to build a new vaccine production line in the Netherlands to churn out hundreds of millions of Moderna COVID-19 jabs, the two companies announced on Wednesday.

The new production line will be established at Lonza's site in Geleen, southern Netherlands, and be operational by the end of year.

This line will enable the supply of an additional 300 million doses of Moderna's booster variant vaccine candidate per year, if authorised.

This comes in addition to a previous deal with ROVI in Granada, Spain, which means Moderna expects to be able to produce 600 million doses per year from production lines in the EU.

Brussels has struck two contacts with Moderna to provide the 27 member states with its vaccine.

The first one, announced last November, was for at last 80 million doses. Since then, the company has agreed to provide a further 150 million doses this year with an option to purchase another 150 million in 2022.

The European Commission which was harshly criticised for the initial slow roll-out of the bloc's vaccination campaign has championed home-grown vaccine.

A deal struck last month with Pfizer/BioNTech for an additional 1.8 billion doses through to 2023 emphasised that the vaccines, and its most critical components, would be manufactured in the bloc.