The four-year contract, signed with the British laboratory Seqirus and the Commission's Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA), included an option to purchase an additional 40 million doses.

The objective of joint contracting, a community source told Lusa, “is to offer additional capacity to Member States to acquire vaccines”.

“Member States always have the possibility of using their own national procedure to acquire vaccines, regardless of whether or not they are covered by the joint tender”, he highlighted.

Seqirus UK Ltd has a European Union marketing authorization for an updated vaccine for H5 strains of the influenza A virus intended for use in adults.

The vaccine is intended to prevent contact in people who work with or are exposed to infected birds and mammals.