COVID-19: EU medical regulator approves Pfizer vaccine for use across bloc

The EU’s medical regulator has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for use across the European Union.

The move from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) paves the way for rollout across the continent, though the European Commission still needs to give this the green light.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said she expects a decision this evening.

She said the approval is a “decisive moment in our efforts to deliver safe and effective vaccines to Europeans”.

The vaccine has already been approved in the UK and US, and both countries have been rolling it out nationwide.

The inoculation – which has been called Comirnaty – offers “a high level of protection against COVID-19”, according to the EMA.

EMA executive director Emer Cooke said: “Today’s positive news is an important step forward in our fight against this pandemic, which has caused suffering and hardship for so many.

“We have achieved this milestone thanks to the dedication of scientists, doctors, developers and trial volunteers as well as many experts from all EU Member States.

“Our thorough evaluation means that we can confidently assure EU citizens of the safety and efficacy of this vaccine and that it meets necessary quality standards. However, our work does not stop here.

“We will continue to collect and analyse data on the safety and effectiveness of this vaccine to protect people taking the vaccine in the EU.”

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