Germany prepares for possible vaccine rollout in December

Germany prepares for possible vaccine rollout in December

The co-founder of BioNTech, Uğur Şahin, said his firm’s coronavirus vaccine could be rolled out in Europe before the end of the year. His comments came just as the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said that the vaccine could receive conditional marketing approval next month. 

Coronavirus vaccine could receive EU approval this year

Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she expects a coronavirus vaccine to be approved in Europe in December or “very soon after the turn of the year.” After that, the CDU politician said following a summit on Thursday evening, “of course the vaccination will begin.” While emphasising that “we don’t want to take any risks” on a vaccine, she said nonetheless that the latest news had been encouraging. 

Her comments were echoed by Ursula von der Leyen, who immediately after the summit said that, according to the European Medicines Agency, both the BioNTech / Pfizer and Moderna vaccines could receive conditional marketing approval by the second half of December, as long as everything proceeds smoothly. 

BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine 95 percent effective in trials

The Mainz manufacturer BioNTech and its US partner Pfizer announced on Wednesday that their vaccine had proven to be 95 percent effective in clinical trials - and thus even more successful than previously announced. The vaccine seems to work well across different age and demographic groups, and shows practically no side effects. The Moderna vaccine, which is also a so-called RNA vaccine, has been posting a 94,5 percent effectiveness. 

On Thursday, Şahin told AFP in a Zoom interview that both BioNTech and Pfizer were “working at full speed”. On Friday, it was announced that they had applied for emergency use authorisation for their vaccine in the US. EU regulators will receive another batch of data next week. “There is a chance that we can receive approval from the US or Europe or both regions this year still,” said Sahin. “We may even start delivering the vaccine in December, if everyone works together very closely.” 

EU leaders meet to coordinate steps out of lockdown

Even with the hope of a vaccine on the horizon, EU leaders met on Thursday to coordinate the handling of coronavirus measures over the national holidays at Christmas and New Year. They agreed that the current coronavirus restrictions should only be relaxed again carefully and gradually, so as not to risk a third wave of infections. The EU Commission therefore plans to present a step-by-step approach in the coming weeks. 

The heads of state and government are alarmed, however, by the increasing number of people who distrust vaccines. EU Council President Charles Michel said that people should be better educated about the value of vaccinations. From EU circles it was said that there should now be joint efforts in this area. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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