Britain, the first country to approve the Biontech / Pfizer vaccine

The European Medical Agency (EMA) on Friday approved the use of the European Union of AstraZeneca vaccines against Kovid-19 for people over 18 years of age. This decision was taken because 27 criticized the delay in its delivery.

The vaccine developed by the British laboratory AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford is the third to receive the green light from the EMA on 21 December, followed by Pfizer-BioNtech on 21 December and Moderna on 6 January.

EU countries were looking at the regulator’s decision, wondering if it would follow the example of the German Immunization Commission, which on Thursday advised against this vaccine for people over 65, citing “insufficient” figures. Granted.

“EMA recommends granting a conditional marketing authorization for the vaccine against Kovid-19 AstraZeneca (…) in 18-year-olds”, announced the European regulator, based in Amsterdam.

The EMA’s decision comes as the pharmaceutical group faced the wrath of European leaders for several days, after explaining that it could only deliver “a quarter” of the promises made to the European Union in the first quarter.

The decision welcomed by AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca immediately welcomed the European green light on Friday, promising “broad and reasonable access” to its vaccine.

Earlier in the day, Hungary, criticizing Brussels’ “slowness”, was once again portrayed as being the first European Union country to approve a vaccine from the Russian laboratory Sinopharm, after doing so last week with Russian Sputnik V .

The EMA said on Friday morning that another vaccine, Pfizer-BioNotech, was related to deaths after vaccination, in which several elderly people were screened. According to the European regulator, “data does not show a link with vaccination” or “safety concerns”.

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Facing a global shortage, Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis has signed an agreement to help in the production of the Pfizer-BioNotech vaccine.

Variants and Vaccines

These announcements are against a backdrop of concerns in Europe and elsewhere, where more infectious and possibly lethal forms of coronovirus are spreading, questioning the effectiveness of vaccines.

So much so that the ambassadors of EU member states on Friday approved new recommendations from the European Commission (new mapping of the most affected areas, strict traffic restrictions) aimed at avoiding border closures or normal travel “non- Is strongly discouraging the necessary journey “. Restriction ”.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for not “lowering the guard” in Europe, where many countries have already more or less pushed their borders.

At the same time, WHO experts launched a hyper-sensitive investigation into the genesis of the epidemic on Friday in Wuhan, central China, where it was announced in late 2019.

Investigators will go to the now famous Wuhan Institute of Virology equipped with high-security P3 and P4 laboratories that exclusively handle coronaviruses, but also in hospitals and markets.

The United States called for a “clear and thorough” investigation. Beijing responded by rejecting any “political interference”.

AstraZeneca in Hot Seat

On 12 January, AstraZeneca requested to authorize its vaccines in the European Union as well as in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Blaming it for its announced delivery delay, the group referred to a “drop in yield” at a European factory, explaining that it could only deliver “a quarter” of the promises made to the European Union in the first quarter.

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Brussels considered these explanations “unsatisfactory” and requested an inspection of a Belgian factory in the group, where “some documents and data” were seized on Thursday.

The European Commission stepped up the pressure on Friday by publishing an online contract signed with AstraZeneca, parts of which were blackened for privacy reasons.

Whether it is AstraZeneca or other laboratories, European countries complain about the lethargy of vaccine production, even though 63% of the administered dose is in rich countries (Europe, America and Gulf countries), accounting for 16% of the world’s population. .

According to calculations done by AFP, more than 86.5 million doses of Kovid vaccine have been administered in at least 73 countries or regions.

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About the Author: Piers Parker

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