EU medicines watchdog to issue decision on Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

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The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is expected on Monday to issue a decision on its assessment of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by US drugmaker Pfizer and its German Partner BioNTech, with possible rollout across EU member states as of Sunday.

The evaluation meeting was brought forward a week, following increased pressure by Germany, whose Health Minister, Jens Spahn called for a market authorisation before Christmas. The approval could allow for countries to kickstart vaccinations before the end of the year. 

Should the vaccine candidate get the green light, the European Commission is required to formally approve it. The procedure is considered a formality, as the chief of the EU Executive last week said she was hoping for a positive assessment by EMA.

In what Ursula von der Leyen called “Europe’s moment,” COVID-19 vaccinations across Europe are set to begin on December 27, in a bid to “put an end” to the Coronavirus pandemic. 

In early January, EMA is also set to decide on the COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by the US-based Moderna. The Amsterdam-based European Medicines Agency had originally been due to decide on the vaccine on 12 January, however, the regulator said that Moderna had submitted ahead of time the last outstanding data package needed for the assessment of the application. 

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