Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine: Days after the United Kingdom and US commenced the vaccination drive with Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19, European Union’s medical regulatory body too approved the vaccine for use in 27 member states of the bloc. Following the authorization by EMA (European Medicines Agency), European Commission too gave its formal approval to vaccine for around 448 million inhabitants in the states. Sources indicate that vaccine distribution could start as early as Sunday.
The holiday season is prompting partial lockdowns in European nations, like Netherlands and Germany, with fears of surge in cases of coronavirus infection. The new variant strain emergence in UK has forced out EU states to suspend travel from Britain, citing the high infectious rate.
EMA has rendered Pfizer vaccine to have 96% efficacy and has allowed its use for people over 16 years of age.
EMA’s Executive Director, Emer Cooke said, “Out thorough evaluation means that we can confidently assure EU citizens of the safety and efficacy of this vaccine and that it meets necessary quality standards.”
“However, our work does not stop here. We will continue to collect and analyze data on the safety and effectiveness of this vaccine to protect people taking the vaccine in the EU,” Ms. Cooke added.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires two doses to achieve full immunity. The second jab, booster to the first, is to be administered after 21 days from the first one. Day 12 from the first dose is when the body is triggered to start build up the immunity against the virus. Day 28 following the second jab is when complete immunity is achieved. Hence, two doses are essential to have full immunity and complete the vaccination schedule.
Side effects of vaccine are very mild, like all other vaccinations, including fever and body ache. These are expected to subside in a day or so.
Germany is speeding away with getting its hundreds of immunization centres ready and hopes to commence vaccinating its priority group from Sunday, December 27.
EU had ordered 300 million doses of Pfizer vaccine, which would vaccinate 150 million people. Immediately only a limited number of these would be supplied by the pharma giant.