German Health Minister Jens Spahn has urged the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for swift approval of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by US drug maker Pfizer and German BioNTech and asked for approval before Christmas.
“Our goal is to get approval before Christmas so that we can start vaccinating this year,” said Spahn on Monday. His announcement came amid a spike in COVID-19 cases across the country and an alarming surge in the death toll in recent weeks.
Later that day, in an interview with the German public broadcaster ZDF, the German health minister said that the country could vaccinate up to 60% of its citizens by the end of summer 2021, while at the weekend he emphasized that Germany had set up and more than 400 vaccination centers activated about 10,000 doctors and medical personnel. The country is ready to start mass vaccinations as early as Tuesday.
Following Germany’s call, an exceptional meeting of the EMA Committee on Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) is scheduled for December 21st to complete the assessment of the data submitted by BioNTech and Pfizer.
“Every day counts – we are working flat out to approve safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines,” wrote the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in a Twitter post on Tuesday and welcomed the EMA’s move towards approval of Pfizer vaccines previously discussed Christmas.
The President of the Commission also reiterated her earlier statement that the first EU citizens will do so Get a vaccine shot before the end of the year and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Every day counts – we’re working at full speed to get # COVID19 vaccines approved that are safe and effective.
I applaud @EMA_News for presenting their pre-Christmas meeting to discuss the @pfizer / BioNTech vaccine.
The first Europeans are expected to be vaccinated before the end of 2020!
– Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen), December 15, 2020