The EU drug regulator has reportedly pushed forward its ruling on the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech as Germany has made itself heard that it expects the vaccine to get an approval before Christmas.
As per credible sources, the growing backlash from the EU countries has urged the Amsterdam-based European Medicines Agency (EMA) to hold their meeting regarding the authorization of the shot on 21st December instead of the initial 29th December. Commenting on the matter, Jens Spahn, Health Minister for Germany has stated that the body risked losing the trust of EU citizens if it failed to take fast action. Spahn further stated that the ultimate goal is to get an approval before Christmas as Germany wants to start vaccination in the country prior to the year end.
Meanwhile, Roberto Speranza, Italy’s health minister also stated that he hopes that the EMA will approve the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine before the schedule.
Reportedly, the German government had earlier insisted an emergency approval for the type given by the UK and elsewhere which might have a negative impact on the public’s willingness to be vaccinated. Although Germany is known to have more vaccine sceptics and anti-vaxxers than other countries, Spahn on Sunday stated in a coronavirus summit held between the government and state leaders that if Germany would have acted alone it would have been remarkably quicker.
Addressing the criticism that the US, UK and Canada approved vaccines before the EU, Spahn stated that the EMA’s ruling would be world’s first regular approval of a vaccine, involving participation of experts from all 27 member countries of EU.
Consequently, the vaccine announcement has been appreciated by medical staff, politicians and business leaders with the headline-writers referring it as “the best Christmas present”.
It has been reported that Germany entered a strict lockdown on Wednesday that is likely to last until at least 10th of January, as the country struggles to control the spread of the virus. Schools and kindergartens will close along with other non-essential shops such as hairdressers.
Apparently, Germany had fared better until the autumn than several other European countries in terms of lower rates of infection and deaths. However, experts have stated that the advantage has been squandered in part due to the widespread perception that the virus was so well under control that people could safely relax their behavior.
On Sunday, political leaders have reportedly revoked the plan of relaxing rules over Christmas, which is anticipated to bring the seasonal festivities to a halt.