Germany’s health minister on December 14 said that the European Union’s regulatory agency must authorise the COVID-19 vaccines before Christmas to end the devastating impact of the pandemic. The European Union drug agency said that it may need time until December 29 to approve Pfizer and BioNtech and at least four more weeks deadline of Jan. 12 to approve Moderna vaccine as it was still reviewing the safety and efficacy data. German Health Minister Jens Spahn told public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk that he plans to start inoculating the population by the end of the year in cold winter months as people spend more time indoors. Germany has ordered up to 100 million doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine and will start vaccinating the vulnerable, nurses and doctors as the first batch arrives, the health minister informed.
The US-based Pfizer announced in a release that it applied for authorization of its vaccine named BNT162b2 with 95 percent efficacy in Europe. The announcement came simultaneously with the rival US firm Moderna informing the same, that it had applied to EU and US regulators for approval. “We have known since the beginning of this journey that patients are waiting, and we stand ready to ship COVID-19 vaccine doses as soon as potential authorizations will allow us,” Pfizer’s chief executive, Albert Bourla, said in a statement. Made in collaboration with the German pharmaceutical company BioNtech, Pfizer received an estimated 375 million euros ($450 million) in funding for the production and research of the vaccine.