EU agency authorizes Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine
(Sourced from PTI)
The European Union's medicines agency gave the green light to the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday. It gives the 27-nation bloc a second vaccine to use in the desperate battle to tame the virus rampaging across the continent. The approval recommendation by the European Medicines Agency's (EMA) Human Medicines Committee must be rubber-stamped by the EU's executive commission.
"This vaccine provides us with another tool to overcome the current emergency," said Emer Cooke, Executive Director of EMA. Cook also stressed that EU authorities "will closely monitor data on the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine to ensure ongoing protection of the EU public." European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also welcomed the move on Twitter.
Good news for our efforts to bring more #COVID19 vaccines to Europeans!— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) January 6, 2021
@EMA_News assessed that the @moderna_tx vaccine is safe effective.
Now we are working at full speed to approve it make it available in the EU.
The EMA has already approved a coronavirus vaccine made by American drug maker Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech. Both the vaccines require giving people two shots. The EU has ordered 80 million doses of the Moderna vaccine with an option for a further 80 million. The bloc has also committed to buying 300 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn, who has been critical of the EMA, said shortly before EMA's announcement that he expected the Moderna vaccine to begin rolling out to EU nations next week. He insisted on the strategy of bulk-buying being the right one as it gives manufacturers certainty to go ahead with production and ensures fair distribution among the entire bloc.
Ahead of the meeting on the Moderna vaccine, the agency had said that they were working hard to clarify all outstanding issues with the company but did not elaborate further. Moderna also declined to comment. Early results of unfinished studies show both the Moderna and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines appear safe and strongly protective. Further, Moderna's vaccine doesn't need to be stored at ultra-frozen temperatures.
The EU agency allowed the use of the Moderna vaccine on people aged 18 years and above. It said side effects were usually mild or moderate. The most common side effects are pain and swelling at the injection site, tiredness, chills, fever, swollen or tender lymph nodes under the arm, headache, muscle and joint pain, nausea, and vomiting, the EMA said.
Notably, the United States, Canada, and Israel have already approved the use of the Moderna vaccine. The US and Canada gave it the green light for emergency use in people over 18 years in December. Israel had authorized it on Monday. Moderna said it is continuing to invest and add staff to build up to potentially one billion doses for 2021.
The EU officially began giving out Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination shots on December 27, with varying speeds for each nation. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz tweeted that approval of the Moderna vaccine is another important step in the fight against the pandemic. "This means we have more vaccine available in the EU and can fight the pandemic faster," he said.