BERLIN, Germany – Germany is pressuring EU authorities to speed up the approval of a coronavirus vaccine as it battles a surge in infections and Britain and the US begin mass inoculations, reports said.
Angela Merkel’s office and Germany’s health ministry want the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to bring forward the approval date for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to December 23 from December 29, German newspaper _Bild _said Tuesday, citing unnamed sources.
The delay in approval was raising questions over “the European Union’s ability to act”, Bild quoted a source as saying.
Berlin’s irritation is more acute as BioNTech is a German firm and the country is preparing to go into partial lockdown from Wednesday, with non-essential shops and schools to close.
Singapore and Bahrain have already approved the Pfizer-BioNTech jab, with Canada inoculating its first citizen on Monday.
The United States kicked off its mass vaccination drive Monday hoping to turn the tide on the world’s biggest coronavirus outbreak, as the country’s death toll passed 300,000.
Last week, the EMA said it had been the victim of a cyberattack.
Pfizer-BioNTech said documents relating to its regulatory submission were illegally accessed during the hack, which lasted two weeks.