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EU gives green light to Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

Published on 22/12/20 at 10:02am

The EMA has recommended the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use across the EU’s 27 countries, with the first doses set to be given before the end of this month.

The EU drugs watchdog’s decision was made following mounting pressure from European governments, after both the UK and US approved the vaccine for widespread use in previous weeks.

A formal approval from the European Commission (EC) came just hours after the EMA declared the jab safe for use. The EMA has stated that the vaccine is for over-16s only, and should be given to pregnant woman on a case-by-case basis.

EMA chief Emer Cooke told an online press conference: “It is a significant step forward in the fight against this pandemic that is causing suffering and hardship.

“This is really a historic scientific achievement, within less than a year a vaccine will have been developed and authorised against this disease.”

The recommendation comes amid growing concern over a new, fast-spreading variant of coronavirus that was identified in the UK last week, leading numerous countries to suspend flights from the UK. Cooke has said there is “no evidence” to suggest the vaccine will not work against the mutated strain.

Delivery of the vaccine to EU states is pencilled in for this Saturday, with inoculations set to begin immediately after.

EC President Ursula von der Leyen said in Brussels: “As we have promised, this vaccine will be available for all EU countries at the same time, on the same conditions.

“This is a very good way to end this difficult year, and to finally start turning the page on COVID-19."

Darcy Jimenez

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