The European Medicines Agency recommended Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine for use across the European Union’s 27 countries on Wednesday.
The recommendation clears the way for it to be officially approved for widespread use later this week. It is the second vaccine to be approved in the EU, and follows the European Commission’s purchase of 160 million vaccine doses in November.
“Good news for our efforts to bring more COVID-19 vaccines to Europeans,” tweeted European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. “We are working at full speed to approve it and make it available in the EU.”
The EU approved Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine in December. The EU is following in the footsteps of the United States, which approved Moderna’s vaccine on Dec. 18. (RELATED: Fauci Criticizes Slow Vaccine Rollout)
“This vaccine provides us with another tool to overcome the current emergency,” said Emer Cooke, the director of the European Medicines Agency. “It is a testament to the efforts and all commitment of all involved that we have this second positive vaccine recommendation just short of a year since the pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization.”
The EU has seen an inconsistent vaccine rollout amid a spike in cases in recent weeks. While Germany vaccinated 200,000 people with the Pfizer vaccine during its first week, France only vaccinated 500, according to the Associated Press.
Fears in Europe have also risen over a new, more contagious coronavirus strain first found in the United Kingdom, prompting several countries to reimpose lockdowns and temporarily halt travel from the country entirely.
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