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Covid-19: Germany plans to start vaccinating by 27 December

Credit: Belga

Germany plans to start vaccinating its population as early as 27 December, German authorities said, which could mean that Belgium starts its vaccine campaign before the new year as well.

“Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn informed the Conference of Health Ministers (GMK) about the expected approval and delivery of the vaccine from BioNTech,” the Berlin Senate Administration announced, potentially marking the start of Germany’s vaccination campaign on the 27th.

This news means that Belgium, too, could start vaccinating its population on 27 December, as European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday that all EU members will be able to start vaccinating “on the same day,” after Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine gets the official green light.

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The European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced on Tuesday that it would decide on the authorisation of the vaccine on 21 December, a week earlier than initially planned, after being pressured by Germany to move the decision forward.

The vaccine has already been approved in the UK and in the United States, and both countries have started their vaccination campaigns. In their cases, however, they approved the vaccines for early emergency use.

The EU, meanwhile, is operating on the basis of a conditional marketing authorisation, which “can only be granted if sufficient data are available on the quality, safety and efficacy of the vaccine,” according to virologist Steven Van Gucht.

If EMA gives the green light, the Commission will examine EMA’s opinion and consult with Member States – which could take a few days – and give its conditional marketing authorisation for the EU.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times