EU offers closing approval for Moderna Covid vaccine, paving method for additional doses

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

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LONDON — The European Commission on Wednesday authorized Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine for use in the European Union, following a green light from the European Medicines Agency earlier in the day.

The Commission, the EU’s executive arm, granted a conditional marketing authorization (CMA) to Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine. The move represents the final step in the bloc’s authorization process.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said in a statement that the Moderna vaccine would see the bloc gain a further 160 million doses. “And more vaccines will come.”

“Europe has secured up to two billion doses of potential COVID-19 vaccines,” she said. “We’ll have more than enough safe and effective vaccines for protecting all Europeans.”

The authorization of the Moderna vaccine, the second one now authorized in the EU after the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine, comes as criticism grows about the slow rollout of jabs across the bloc.

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 only just 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 commission to explain why it has not bought more jabs. A spokesperson said on Monday that the institution was “very much focused on ensuring that the implementation of our strategy is done, is done well.”

Shares of Moderna were almost 5% higher on Wednesday.

“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 earlier in the day.

Emer Cooke, executive director of the Amsterdam-based EMA, added that Moderna’s vaccine “provides us with another tool to overcome the current emergency.”

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