“The vaccine will be available across the UK from next week. This is very good news.” It is the first approval for the vaccine “BNT162b2” worldwide.
“The European Medicines Agency EMA is responsible for the approval in the EU”, declared Clemens Auer, special representative of the Austrian Ministry of Health and co-chairman of the purchasing group of the 27 EU states. On Tuesday, the EMA announced approval for December 29th. The EMA is careful when examining and evaluating the documents and there is no reason to put pressure on the approval authority. “In Austria we are in any case ready to start rolling out the first vaccinations in the old people’s and nursing homes with the residents and their nursing staff and in the hospitals with the health staff”, Auer informed the APA in writing.
“As gratifying as the current progress in Covid-19 vaccine development is, we are now faced with the challenge of producing 1.4 billion vaccine doses for European needs alone, and in the shortest possible time. Because everyone wants the vaccine at the same time “said Pharmig General Secretary Alexander Herzog. Pharmig is the association of the Austrian pharmaceutical industry. Given the great demand, some companies would have started producing large quantities of their vaccine candidates at their own risk. “To this end, production capacities have been expanded, new manufacturing technologies have been implemented and production partnerships have been established around the globe with specially certified production partners,” said Herzog, according to the announcement. “These predictive measures are crucial to the rapid availability of potential vaccines.”
The vaccine from the German biotech company and its US partner Pfizer is currently seen as one of the most promising means of containing the coronavirus. Almost 1.5 million people who tested positive for Corona have now died worldwide.
Belgium wants to start vaccinations on January 5th
According to Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, the first people in Belgium will be vaccinated against the corona virus on January 5th. “On January 5th we will be ready like other countries,” said the liberal politician on Wednesday. The final details of the vaccination strategy are currently being clarified. But this goes quickly. “When the vaccinations are ready, our country will be ready.”
Vaccination in Belgium should be voluntary and free. First of all, risk groups and employees in the healthcare system are to be vaccinated. An application for approval has been submitted to the European Medicines Agency for two vaccines.
Italy wants to vaccinate from the end of January
Vaccine is not yet available for widespread use in most of the world. China and Russia, among others, have been vaccinating certain groups of the population for some time. The Italian government is working on a large-scale vaccination plan with which millions of Italians will be vaccinated against the coronavirus from the end of January. The government wants to make 202 million vaccine doses available in the first quarter of 2021, said the Italian Minister of Health Roberto Speranza. Biontech and Pfizer emphasized that their vaccine was approved based on data from a large clinical trial involving tens of thousands of subjects.
The UK Medicines Agency has approved an emergency approval, Hancock said. The delivery should begin immediately. Biontech and Pfizer have agreed to deliver 40 million vaccine doses to the UK for December and next year. The 40 million vaccine doses can protect 20 million people – the drug has to be administered twice. Great Britain has a population of just under 67 million. According to the Ministry of Health, the military is helping with logistics.
Vaccination committee decides
The vaccination committee will decide which people to vaccinate first, Hancock said. In all likelihood, they will be residents of retirement and nursing homes as well as employees in the health sector. “There is always exciting news, but it is really significant,” said Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London. Only eleven months after the virus was discovered, there is now an effective means of combating it. “This is really heroic.”
The UK has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic and many of the chronically underfunded hospitals have already reached their capacity limit. According to the Ministry of Health, almost 60,000 people in the UK have already died of Covid-19. A high number of unreported cases is expected. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is accused of having reacted too late and inadequately to the corona crisis.
Pfizer said the UK’s emergency approval was a historic moment in the fight against the virus. “This approval is a goal we’ve been working towards since we first announced that science will win,” said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. The company is expecting further approvals in the near future and is working flat out to make the vaccine available all over the world as quickly as possible.
Application for conditional marketing authorization
On Tuesday, Biontech and Pfizer submitted an application for conditional marketing authorization to the European Medicines Agency (EMA). If the EMA gives the green light, the vaccine could be used in the EU before the end of the year. The agency announced on Tuesday that the results of the examination should be available by December 29th at the latest. The EU has already signed a framework agreement to purchase up to 300 million doses of the vaccine. By January 12, the EMA also wants to decide on the Covid-19 vaccine from the US biotech group Moderna, which has also submitted an application for conditional market approval to the authorities. Around 50 projects are currently in clinical trials on humans.
At the beginning of November, Biontech and Pfizer were the first companies worldwide to announce positive results from the approval-relevant study with a corona vaccine. According to a final analysis published two weeks ago, the vaccine showed 95 percent protection against Covid-19.
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