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Moderna expects European vaccine approval on 12 January

. Credit: Pxhere

U.S. biotechnology company Moderna has said that it hopes its coronavirus vaccine will be approved by European authorities on January 12.

Once that happens, the company can begin distributing it, Dan Staner, head of the European division, said in an interview with the German newspaper Stuttgarter Zeitung. Moderna plans to fulfil its contract with the European Union for 80 million doses, plus an option for another 80 million in 2021, Staner said.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is expected to decide by December 29 whether or not to grant conditional marketing authorization for the BioNTech and Pfizer vaccine candidate, which would be the first approval granted.

It is expected to do the same for Moderna’s on January 12. Both are approximately 95% effective in the prevention of coronavirus.

AstraZeneca’s and Janssen Pharmaceutica’s vaccine candidates are expected to be available in the first half of the year or even in the first quarter.

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Once the EMA has given its green light, the European Commission will still have to give its formal approval, however it generally follows the Agency’s opinion.

Belgium has already signed to receive a total of 22.4 million doses of the vaccine under five European agreements, namely those with AstraZeneca (7.5 million doses), Pfizer-BioNTech (5 million), Janssen Pharmaceutica (5 million), CureVac (2.9 million) and Moderna (2 million). If one of them is approved by the European authorities, the vaccination campaign will be able to begin on 5 January.

The Brussels Times