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This was decided by the EU Commission on Wednesday on the recommendation of the drug authority EMA, as announced by Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen. Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) announced in Berlin: “We are assuming that the delivery of the first cans will start next week.” Moderna also announced that the first deliveries to European countries should probably take place next week.The EMA had previously recommended conditional approval in Amsterdam. Spahn said that of the more than 160 million Moderna cans ordered across the EU, Germany will receive over 50 million. In the first quarter, however, only just under two million Moderna cans came to Germany due to the initially limited production capacity. According to the EU Commission, the total of 160 million Moderna cans are to be delivered by September.
Von der Leyen spoke of good news. EMA chief Emer Cooke said the Moderna vaccine provides “another tool in the fight against the current emergency”. The process was quick and reliable.
Moderna’s remedy needs two doses of vaccine four weeks apart to be effective. A second dose of Pfizer / BioNTechs agent is given after three weeks. In a series of tests, both agents had shown a high level of effectiveness of around 94 percent and only a few side effects. Moderna, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said that 100 to 125 million doses of the vaccine called “mRNA-1273” would be produced in the first three months of 2021 – up to 25 million of them for outside the US. The vaccine is approved for people aged 18 and over.
Spahn said the EU Commission had started to negotiate delivery plans with Moderna in the past few days. The government can tell the federal states responsible for vaccination how deliveries have developed over the weeks if this has been agreed with Moderna and the other EU states. “That will now happen very quickly and promptly.”
Biontech (BioNTech (ADRs)) / Pfizer were the first to receive EU approval on December 21. Spahn explained that the Moderna vaccine did not have to be cooled to minus 70, but only to minus 20 degrees. In the USA, the Moderna vaccine has been injected since shortly before Christmas following an emergency approval. There are already approvals in Canada and Israel.
After criticizing the sluggish vaccination start, Spahn said: “There will be enough vaccine for everyone in Germany.” He emphasized: “We have ordered enough, more than enough vaccine for everyone – from several manufacturers.” He said, “I can get ten more contracts now for additional quantities. We don’t have a quantity problem.” Biontech and Pfizer had made it clear early on that “by the end of last year they would only have been able to pre-produce 50 million cans for global demand”.
If Biontech starts production at a new location in Marburg, Hesse, as planned, then it will be able to massively expand production. “That leads to earlier deliveries of ordered cans.” It is a record for the construction of such a production facility. Usually this takes one to two years. “In this case it would be a few months.” For this, the state is pushing the pace with the approval processes. Spahn emphasized that even with Marburg, Germany was not making vaccinations in the EU: “It is produced for Europe.”
The goal of larger production capacities also with other manufacturers has a consultation with the Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), Economics Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) served. “Where it is not economically sufficient (.), We as the state are ready.” The consultation was a common exchange in the government. There had been speculation that Spahn’s responsibility for vaccination would be withdrawn. As on the day before Merkel, Spahn emphasized mutual trust in the crisis.
The minister emphasized the importance of the “stage goal” of vaccinating all residents of old people’s and nursing homes by mid-February. “When that is done, once the people in need of care and the oldest in our society have been vaccinated, then this pandemic will lose a large part of its horror.” The background is: The mortality risk for Covid-19 patients increases sharply with age. In particular, if there are other approvals apart from Biontech and Moderna, everyone in Germany could be offered a vaccination in the summer, says Spahn again.
“The vaccination start days are days of confidence,” he said. He understands that many people would have questions if things didn’t work out the way they should everywhere. Errors would have to be corrected. At the same time, Spahn rejected criticism – for example from the federal states at the start of vaccination. As planned, 1.34 million vaccine doses were delivered to the countries directly from the factory in the old year. “It will be 3.98 million by February 1st.” The delivery dates have been known since the middle of last week – as soon as the manufacturers notified the ministry, they immediately went to the federal states. A change in one of these dates has been clarified.
Like the product from Biontech / Pfizer, that from Moderna is also a so-called mRNA vaccine. It contains genetic information about the pathogen, from which the body produces a virus protein. More vaccines are expected to come onto the market in Europe in the next few months. In response to the question of whether a selection could then be made, Spahn said: “When the time has come that we have more than enough of more than one vaccine, then it will no doubt be possible.”
The Moderna share rose at times on the NASDAQ by 6.64 percent to 116.40 US dollars.
AMSTERDAM / BRSSEL / BERLIN (dpa-AFX)
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Conditional approval Moderna share takes Moderna vaccine approved message