EMA Approves Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
Europe’s medicines regulator on Monday approved the use of the COVID-19 vaccine jointly developed by U.S. company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, putting Europe on course to start inoculations within a week.
European Union countries including Germany, France, Austria and Italy have said they plan to start vaccinations from Dec. 27 as Europe tries to catch up with the United States and Britain, where inoculations began earlier this month.
Having gained the green light from the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the final step is approval by the European Commission, which is expected in the coming days. The Commission typically follows the EMA’s advice.
Commission head Ursula von der Leyen had already targeted the start of vaccinations over the Dec. 27-29 period.
Student medics, retired doctors, pharmacists and soldiers are being drafted into a European vaccination campaign of unprecedented scale.
A phased-in approach means frontline healthcare workers and elderly residents of care homes are being prioritised, with most national schemes not reaching the general public until the end of the first quarter of 2021 at the earliest.
The goal of the 27-member EU is to reach coverage of 70% of its 450 million people.
The drugs regulator in Switzerland on Saturday authorised the vaccine for use in people aged over 16./ Reuters
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