European regulators will review Pfizer Inc.’s vaccine next week. and BioNTech SE Covid-19 next week, earlier than originally planned, amid growing pressure on the continent to accelerate the approval of the shooting.
A committee of the European Medicines Agency will meet on Monday to consider the vaccine after receiving more data from developers, it said in a statement on Tuesday. Once a recommendation has been made, the European Commission is expected to decide whether to put out the fire in a few days.
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Leaders in Germany, Italy and Poland, among others, have pushed the EU regulator to speed up its review as vaccination campaigns for high-risk people in the UK and the US begin. A few weeks after the UK, which became a source of frustration, as researchers in Germany developed the Pfizer-BioNTech shot and the country’s government provided funding.
Some doses of vaccine are made in Belgium, and from next year production will start in Germany.
The announcement means that the first EU residents are likely to be immunized before the end of the year, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wrote in a tweet. At a crucial time in the fight against Covid-19, Pfizer obtained US emergency clearance last week, following decisions in the UK and Canada. The measures have paved the way for unprecedented campaigns to protect people from a pathogen that has killed more than 1.6 million people worldwide.
The EMA has previously said that its advisory board will meet by December 29 to make a recommendation on the request, with approval that could take place in the next few days. But German officials said on Tuesday they were optimistic the agency would be able to make a decision by Dec. 23. The country aims to launch its launch before the end of the year.
The committee “will complete its evaluation as soon as possible and only once the data on the quality, safety and efficacy of the vaccine are sufficiently robust and complete to determine whether the benefits of the vaccine outweigh its risks,” the statement said.
Unlike the US and UK, which have carried out emergency authorizations, the EMA is examining the vaccine to obtain a conditional marketing authorization – which European authorities have argued may not be a comparison between apples and apples. This process requires “a higher level of evidence,” the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety said in a tweet.
The meeting scheduled for December 29 will be held if necessary, according to the agency, the European equivalent of the US Food and Drug Administration.
“Every week counts,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told reporters in Brussels on Friday. “Every week involves huge human losses, new infections and massive losses to the economy.”