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The European Union is in talks with Moderna over a new supply deal for the company’s COVID-19 vaccines amid concerns over a rise in infections in the region, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday, citing two people familiar with the matter.

The company supplied its COVID vaccines to the EU during the pandemic, but the contract for its Omicron-adjusted vaccines ended in August last year and was not renewed.

At least eight countries in the union are interested in a new supply deal, the report said, citing one of the people.

“Moderna manufactured its updated COVID-19 vaccine at risk to ensure we could support member states with their upcoming vaccination campaigns,” a company spokesperson said, adding the updated shot was approved in Europe and ready to be supplied.

Updated COVID shots that will be used in the vaccination campaign this year will target the XBB.1.5 variant of Omicron.

The spokesperson said an agreement with the European Commission is the fastest way to procure the shots, which would help ensure a diversified supply of COVID vaccines with vaccination campaigns set to start in October.

A spokesperson for the European Commission declined to comment on the talks over Moderna’s supply contract, but added it “has been assessing the needs and interests of the Member States for additional COVID-19 vaccines”.

Moderna reaffirms 2023 COVID vaccine sales forecast of $5bn

Currently, Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech’s updated COVID shot is the most widely used vaccine in the region.

Pfizer and BioNTech in May reached a deal to amend their COVID-19 vaccine contract by cutting the number of shots the EU must buy and pushing the delivery deadline to 2026 due to gradually falling demand for the shots.

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