The EU’s medical regulator has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for use in the European Union.
The move from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) paved the way for it to be rolled out across the continent, and the European Commission has now given this the green light.
EU countries including Germany, Austria and Italy have said they plan to start vaccinations from 27 December.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EMA approval was 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.
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.”
The Pfizer vaccine is notable because it has to be kept at -70C, requiring complex supply chain management.
The UK began giving out the jab earlier this month, and transport secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News earlier today that around 500,000 people had received a first dose so far.
A second dose is required after 21 days.
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