OREANDA-NEWS. The European Union has ordered a large batch of doses of the Comirnaty vaccine from BioNTech and Pfizer manufacturers, adapted to a new variant of the coronavirus – omicron. «Our contracts stipulate that companies, if necessary, will develop adapted vaccines within 100 days», European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wrote on Twitter on Friday, December 17.

According to her, the EU countries approved the first tranche of 180 million additional doses of the vaccine under the third contract with BioNTech/Pfizer. After the EU summit in Brussels, von der Leyen also said that in total, the contract with the German company and the American concern involves the supply of up to 1.8 billion doses of vaccine by the end of 2023.

«We know that omicron is really a threat to us», she stressed. This mutation spreads extremely quickly, and in addition, there is a danger that it at least partially bypasses the protection mechanism of existing vaccines, the head of the European Commission recalled. According to her, healthcare systems are already overloaded, which is due to the still high number of unvaccinated people.

A new coronavirus mutation, omicron, was first recorded in Botswana and South Africa in the second half of November 2021 and is rapidly spreading around the world. Omicron has already been detected in more than 60 countries, including Europe and Russia. It is assumed that in the near future it may become predominant, displacing other options.

According to scientists from South Africa, due to the unusually high number of mutations, omicron may be even more contagious than another variant that has recently become especially widespread in the world – delta.

The World Health Organization has assigned omicron the status of «worrisome», and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control has assessed the threat of the spread of this variant in the EU countries from «high to very high». At the same time, scientists have not yet established the specific consequences of infection with omicron.