The first Europeans to be vaccinated against the coronavirus before the New Year.
A group of experts from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will meet to evaluate the vaccine produced by the American company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech on Monday, December 21. Earlier it was reported that the meeting could take place no earlier than December 29.
The European Commission has the final say in approving the vaccine, which usually follows the EMA’s recommendations for new treatments.
The Agency said that the meeting date was moved to an earlier date after the manufacturing companies provided additional information at the request of the EMA. Accordingly, the European Commission will also speed up its paperwork to approve the vaccine “within a few days.”
German Health Minister Jens Spahn said that the country’s authorities would start vaccinating against the coronavirus within 24 to 72 hours after the Pfizer vaccine receives EU approval, that is, immediately after Christmas.
Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Spain will coordinate the launch of their vaccination campaigns, the health ministers of all eight countries said in a joint statement.
The EMA added that once approved, and the vaccination process will be monitored for the safety and effectiveness of vaccinations.
The UK became the first country to approve a vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech on December 3, followed by Canada (December 9) and the US (December 11).
Another American company whose vaccine is also soon to be approved for use in Europe – Moderna – reported that the effectiveness of the drug developed by it significantly exceeds 90%. The same indicators are also reported by the manufacturers of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.