EMA approves Pfizer / BioNTech coronavirus vaccine
At a press conference on Monday, December 21, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine for use within the European Union (EU).
EMA approves first coronavirus vaccine
On Monday, November 9, pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech announced that the vaccine they had been developing against COVID-19 had proven to be 90 percent effective in preventing infection. The companies announced plans to apply for emergency FDA and EMA approval in the US and EU so that people could be vaccinated as soon as possible. Since then, both the United States and the United Kingdom have already started vaccinating people.
The approval has been granted under a conditional permit, which will mean that Pfizer will have to provide the EMA with monthly updates in regards to research and results from ongoing studies. The EMA will then reevaluate the vaccine's status in two years.
EMA approval means that the EU, and therefore the Netherlands, is one step closer to being able to roll out the vaccine. After the EMA press conference, the Dutch Medicines Evaluation Board are also expected to approve the vaccine, and this will be followed by the Dutch Health Council publishing the latest advice for the Dutch vaccination strategy.
Dutch coronavirus vaccination strategy
Once the European Commission has also approved the vaccine, EU member states will be able to start vaccinating their inhabitants. A number of countries, including France, Italy, and Germany, are planning to start vaccinating people before the end of 2020.
People in the Netherlands will have to wait a little bit longer, but the EMA approval means that the country is on track to start vaccinating people on January 8 as planned. Furthermore, if everything goes to plan with the development and ratification of the Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines, then the Dutch government is hoping to be able to vaccinate the majority of adults in the Netherlands by June 1. The EMA verdict on the Moderna vaccine is expected on January 6.