Vastavam web: The European Union geared up to start mass vaccinations against COVID-19 just after Christmas after the shot developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech cleared regulatory hurdles on Monday. European Union countries including Germany, France, Austria and Italy have said they plan to start vaccinations from Dec. 27 as Europe tries to catch up with the United States and Britain, where inoculations began earlier this month. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said doses would be available for all EU countries, at the same time and on the same conditions.
“Today we add an important chapter to a European success story. We approved the first safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19. More vaccines will come soon,” she said. Vaccine doses for Europe will be produced in BioNTech’s manufacturing sites in Germany, and Pfizer’s manufacturing site in Puurs, Belgium, the companies said. Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza hailed the approval as “the news we have been waiting for”. “(It) opened up a new phase and gives us more strength and confidence” in tackling a pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of Europeans, he said. EMA officials said it was highly likely the vaccine would work against the new variant of the coronavirus.
“Vaccines alone will not be the silver bullet that will allow us to return to normal lives, but the authorisation of this first vaccine is definitely a major step in the right direction and an indication that 2021 can be brighter than 2020,” she told a news briefing.