[WATCH] COVID-19 vaccine could be available in Malta before the end of 2020

European Medicines Agency brings forward Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine authorisation, giving hope that the first European citizens will start getting vaccinated before the end of the year

The European Medicines Agency is expected to give final authorisation to the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer-BioNTech next week
The European Medicines Agency is expected to give final authorisation to the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer-BioNTech next week

The COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech is expected to get authorisation by the European Medicines Agency on 21 December, a week earlier than planned.

The agency said on Tuesday that it has brought forward a special meeting to give the final go-ahead after the company yesterday evening passed on additional data requested by its experts.

The meeting was originally scheduled for 29 December but has now been brought forward to Monday.

“The CHMP (human medicines committee) will conclude its assessment at the earliest possible time point and only once the data on the quality, safety and effectiveness of the vaccine are sufficiently robust and complete to determine whether the vaccine’s benefits outweigh its risks,” EMA said.

Once the CHMP recommends a marketing authorisation, the European Commission will then fast track its decision-making process with a view to granting a marketing authorisation valid in all EU and EEA Member States within days.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has already been approved for distribution in the UK and the US.

Health Minister Chris Fearne had told MaltaToday that once the vaccine is authorised rollout would start immediately and Malta could expect to receive its first batch of vaccines within a week.

Originally, the expected arrival of the vaccine in Malta was the beginning of January but with EMA advancing its approval process, the country could possibly be looking at and end-of-year delivery of vaccines.

European Commission President Ursula von Der Leyen welcomed the news. “Everyday counts. We work at full speed to authorise COVID-19 vaccines that are safe and effective,” she said, adding that the first European citizens could start getting vaccinated before the end of 2020.

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