The European Union reached a deal with Pfizer and BioNTech for 300 million additional doses of their Covid-19 vaccine, the head of the European Commission said on Friday, in a move that would give the EU nearly half of the firms’ global output for 2021. Pfizer has said it can produce up to 1.3 billion doses around the world this year. The new agreement with the EU comes on top of another order for 300 million doses that the bloc agreed with Pfizer and German partner BioNTech in November. “We now have agreed with BioNTech and Pfizer to extend this contract. With the new agreement we could purchase a total of up to an additional 300 million doses of the BioNTech vaccine,” Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference on Friday. Pfizer was more cautious. “We are in talks with the European Commission about an amendment to our existing supply agreement for COMIRNATY, the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine,” it said in a statement. The move would allow EU governments to double their orders from Pfizer to 600 million doses, von der Leyen said, as the 27-nation bloc races to ramp up the vaccination of its 450 million people. Each recipient of the Pfizer vaccine need two doses to develop maximum protection. In a separate announcement, the EU drug regulator changed its recommendation for the use of the Pfizer vaccine, allowing the extraction of six doses from a vial instead of five, confirming an earlier Reuters story. That would increase available doses by 20%, although it was not clear whether Pfizer would charge more for the extra doses. The company did not immediately respond to this question. Von der Leyen said 75 million of the additional doses under the new deal would be delivered in the second quarter of this year, and the rest by the end of 2021. Pfizer said that in total 500 million doses would be available to the EU by the end of this year, and an option for another 100 million could be taken up. The large EU order is likely to require an expansion of Pfizer-BioNTech production capacity this year, as the companies have already deals with other wealthy nations for large supplies in 2021.