EMA gives green light to BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine

EMA gives green light to BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine

The European Medical Agency (EMA) has approved the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine for use within the European Union. The decision was announced at a press conference on Monday, December 21. The European Commission now needs to make a decision before the vaccine rollout can begin. 

Pfizer / BioNTech coronavirus vaccine first approved for use in EU

The EMA's decision means that the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine - which back in November was demonstrated to be 90 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 - has become the first coronavirus vaccine approved for use in the EU. Under political pressure from Germany and other EU countries, the EMA's verdict was brought forward by eight days. 

Unlike in the United States and the United Kingdom, where the vaccine has been granted temporary emergency approval, in the EU it has been given a one-year conditional marketing authorisation, which requires a more stringent test procedure. Following the EMA's recommendation, the EU Commission will decide on approval together with the member states. This is expected to happen on Tuesday or Wednesday. 

Vaccinations to begin in Germany on December 27

If the European Commission also approves the vaccine, EU member states will be able to start vaccinating their inhabitants. The EU has ordered its vaccination doses jointly, with the number of doses that each member state is entitled to dependant on the size of its population. 

In Germany, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn has said that he expects vaccinations to begin as early as December 27. According to the government's strategy, people above the age of 80 will be the first to get the jab; as well as those who live or work in nursing homes. Staff in intensive care units, A&E departments and emergency services are also at the top of the priority list. 



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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