European regulator approves Moderna Covid vaccine for use in the EU

Volunteers prepared doses of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine at Forand Manor in Central Falls, RI on December 30, 2020.

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The European Medicines Agency on Wednesday recommended Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine for use in the European Union, at a time when criticism grows about the slow rollout of jabs across the bloc.

“EMA’s human medicines committee has thoroughly assessed the data on the quality, safety and efficacy of the vaccine and recommended by consensus a formal conditional marketing authorization be granted by the European Commission,” the EMA said in a statement.

Emer Cooke, executive director of the Amsterdam-based EMA, added that Moderna’s vaccine “provides us with another tool to overcome the current emergency.” It paves the way for the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, to follow suit.

Moderna’s vaccine is the second to be greenlit by European regulators, but inoculations have already started to be distributed in the U.K. and in the U.S., where it was approved earlier.

Some lawmakers have voiced concern that the EU is being too slow in distributing coronavirus vaccines among its citizens.

The deployment of Covid-19 jabs varies across the bloc. France reported 516 vaccinations in the first week of its rollout, while Germany had carried about 240,000 vaccinations as of Sunday. The Netherlands has not yet started vaccinating people against the coronavirus.

In addition, there are also questions about whether enough vaccines have been purchased by the EU.

A number of officials have asked the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, to explain why it has not bought more jabs.

A spokesperson for the European Commission said on Monday that the institution was “very much focused on ensuring that the implementation of our strategy is done, is done well.”

Moderna’s shares rose slightly in pre-market trade on the back of the announcement.

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