The European Commission secured an additional 15 million doses of vaccine boosters from Moderna adapted for the Omicron variant.
The European Commission has secured an additional 15 million booster doses of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for the Omicron variant.
“Increasing COVID-19 vaccination and booster rates will be crucial as we plan ahead for the autumn and winter months," said EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides in a statement. "To best ensure our common preparedness, Member States must have the necessary tools."
Kyriakides added that this includes vaccines that are adapted to the variants of the virus that have emerged.
"This agreement will ensure that Member States will have access to the vaccine doses they need at the right time to protect our citizens," she added.
The bloc also reached an agreement with Moderna to delay the delivery schedule of doses.
"Doses originally scheduled for delivery in the summer will now be delivered in September and during the autumn and winter period 2022," the Commission said in a statement.
They added that in the fall and winter, "Member States will more likely need additional stocks of vaccines for national campaigns and meeting their international solidarity commitments."
States will also be able to choose vaccines adapted for new variants once they are approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), they added.
COVID-19 cases currently remain high in the European Union and economic area, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) but transmission has overall been falling.
At least 13 countries have reported an increasing trend in hospital or ICU admissions or occupancy, the ECDC said.
Last month, the World Health Organization's European regional office warned that COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations "are only set to increase further in the autumn and winter months".
This is because "schools reopen, people return from holidays and social mixing moves indoors with the onset of colder weather".
The WHO urged countries to increase vaccine uptake, promote mask wearing indoors and ventilate crowded spaces among other measures.
Germany, in particular, announced this summer that there would be basic COVID-19 restrictions in place in the winter.