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After the UK, US and a handful of other countries, the European Union on Monday granted conditional approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. The mRNA-based vaccine reported an efficacy rate of over 94 per cent.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA), EU’s regulator said in a statement that it is recommending Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine to people over 16 years of age across the EU. The regulator has further instructed the pharma giant to collect and submit follow-up data on its coronavirus vaccine for the next year.

“It’s a decisive moment in our efforts to deliver safe & effective vaccines to Europeans!” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a tweet. She went on to add, “Now we will act fast. I expect a @EU_Commission decision by this evening.”

Executive director of the EMA, Emer Cooke said, “This is the result of unparalleled mobilisation and sharing of information between scientists, industry, regulators, healthcare professionals and patients around the globe.”

“EMA’s scientific assessment is based on the strength of the scientific evidence on the vaccine’s safety, quality and efficacy, and nothing else. The evidence convincingly shows that benefits are greater than the risks of this,” Cooke went on to add.

Based out of Amsterdam, the EMA approves and regulates any and all new drugs and vaccines for sale and use across the 27 EU member states.

While the vaccination of frontline medical workers and the elderly has already begun in the UK, US, Canada and a few other countries, others, including Germany, have said they hope delivery of the first batch of Pfizer- BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine by December 27.

France is expected to begin vaccinations by Sunday with the elderly in nursing homes being the first recipients.

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