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Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine set for roll-out in Germany this month

Germany will begin vaccinating elderly in care homes on 27 December

Germany is set to begin administering the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on 27 December, according to Reuters.

The Berlin city government disclosed that priority for the vaccine will first be given to elderly individuals living in care homes.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has scheduled a meeting of its Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) on 21 December, rescheduled from the previously planned date of 29 December.

If regulators are satisfied with the safety and efficacy data, the European Commission (EC) could approve the vaccine on 23 December, a senior EU official said on Wednesday.

Germany’s health minister Jens Spahn previously said that the “goal is to get approval [for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine] before Christmas”, adding that Germany “want[s] to start vaccinating...before the end of the year”.

Last month, the EC signed a contract with Pfizer/BioNTech for the initial purchase of 200 million doses on behalf of all EU member states. This includes an option to secure an additional 100 million doses, set to be supplied when the vaccine has been proven ‘safe and effective’ against COVID-19.

As part of that contract, EU member states can donate doses of the vaccine to lower and middle-income countries or redirect them to other EU countries.

Germany has announced new restrictions over the Christmas period as cases continue to rise rapidly in that country.

As part of the new national lockdown, schools and non-essential businesses will be closed in Germany until 10 January. However, on Christmas Day the rules are slightly less strict, with one household being allowed to host up to four close family members.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is currently being rolled out in the UK and US after each nation’s respective health authority approved the vaccine for emergency use this month.

The German government has reportedly been pressuring the EMA to accelerate the approval of the vaccine. On Tuesday, EC president Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that it is “likely that the first Europeans will be vaccinated before the end [of] 2020”.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

17th December 2020

From: Healthcare

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