Even as the second wave of the novel coronavirus pandemic is sweeping through many regions of Europe, the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech has been now approved by the European Commission earlier this week. The approval has been given for conditional use and the vaccine can now be used for inoculating millions of people vulnerable to the disease across the European Union.
Delivery of its vaccines would be started by the company immediately, the two companies said in a joint statement soon after the vaccine was approved for usage. In a deal struck in November this year with the to vaccine developing countries, 200 million doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine for 2020 and 2021 was secured by the European Commission . The deal also keeps doors open for an addiiotnal 100 million doses if needed in the same period.
This decision by the European Commission was taken after the green signal for the approval was given to the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine by the European Medicines Agency. According to the recommendations of the Agency, the vaccine has been granted conditional marketing authorization targeting people in the age group of 16 years and over.
“EMA’s scientific opinion paves the way for the first marketing authorisation of a COVID-19 vaccine in the EU by the European Commission, with all the safeguards, controls and obligations this entails,” the agency said.
It was less than two weeks that the United States had approved emergency usage of the vaccine developed by the American and German companies.
Regulators in the EU said that vaccinations within a week could be started in all over Europe. The vaccine was first authorised by the United Kingdom and it saw its historic roll out in the country on December7. The vaccine developing companies have claimed that the data from last stage clinical trials of the vaccine has showed 95 per cent effectiveness in preventing Covid-19 among people.
With countries in Europe tighten their lockdowns amid a deadlier winter wave of virus infections, more countries are also giving authorization for the usage of Cvoid-19 vaccines.,
Meanwhile, there are also growing concerns after a new strain of the Cvoid-19 virus was discovered and identified in the United Kingdom which is believes to 70 per cent more transmission power compared to the original strain. This has prompted the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to announce a strict lockdown for some areas to prevent the spreads of the new virus strain. An increasing number of countries have also suspended flights and other transport links to and from the UK.
Almost half a million people across Europe have been killed by the pandemic since it had started.
It has been a struggle for various governments to implement effective strategies for both preventing more infections as well as in keeping local economies afloat as Europe is witnessing record number of cases and deaths as the holiday season nears.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)