On Monday, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced that it is recommending the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine be granted authorization for use in the European Union for people over the age of 16.
The agency’s decision is a major step in the continent’s efforts to tackle COVID-19.
A statement released by EMA claims that the organization has undertaken “rigorous” evaluation of the vaccine and is satisfied by the robustness of the data provided on quality, safety, and efficacy.
“Today’s positive news is an important step forward in our fight against this pandemic, which has caused suffering and hardship for so many,” said Emer Cooke, executive director of EMA.
“We have achieved this milestone thanks to the dedication of scientists, doctors, developers and trial volunteers as well as many experts from all EU Member States.”
The press release said that Pfizer trial data showed the jab to be 95 percent effective in reducing symptomatic Covid-19 cases, adding that the high level of efficacy was maintained across genders, racial and ethnic groups.
“Our work does not stop here. We will continue to collect and analyse data on the safety and effectiveness of this vaccine to protect people taking the vaccine in the EU,” Cooke noted.
The decision to approve the vaccine will now be handed over to the European Commission (EC).
EC President Ursula von der Leyen said on Monday that the commission would act quickly following the EMA’s recommendation.
“Now we will act fast. I expect a European Commission decision by this evening,” she wrote on Twitter.