First Europeans could be vaccinated by end of December, von der Leyen says

First Europeans could be vaccinated by end of December, von der Leyen says
Credit: Belga

The first citizens of the European Union may be able to receive a vaccine against Covid-19 before the end of December, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday.

The Commission signed its sixth contract with a pharmaceutical company for the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines today. Thanks to the rapid availability of vaccines, the first people may already be vaccinated before the end of the year, she said.

Last week, von der Leyen said that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will be able to issue a conditional market authorisation for the first coronavirus vaccines in the second half of December, if all goes well.

"There is light at the end of the tunnel," she clarified today. "The first Europeans may be vaccinated before the end of December."

Additionally, von der Leyen called on the EU Member States to make the necessary logistical preparations for the administration of the vaccine.

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"Vaccines are important, but vaccinations are even more important," she said. "We are talking about millions of needles and the cold chain, the setting up of vaccination centres, the presence of trained staff, you name it."

"Member states must get ready now for the roll-out of hundreds of millions of doses," von der Leyen said. "This is our ticket out of this pandemic."

Lastly, she called on national governments to learn their lessons from the summer holidays, and to not relax the coronavirus measures too quickly. "That would create a risk of a third wave after Christmas."

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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