• Monday, Mar 01, 2021
  • Last Update : 03:18 am

EU regulator approves Moderna vaccine as fears grow over virus variants

  • Published at 09:43 pm January 6th, 2021
File photo: Vials with a sticker reading, "Covid-19 / Coronavirus vaccine / Injection only"and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed Moderna logo in this illustration taken October 31, 2020 Reuters

As of Wednesday, around 1.86 million people have died because of Covid-19 since it broke out in China's Wuhan in December 2019

Europe's drug regulator gave the green light to Moderna Inc's Covid-19 vaccine on Wednesday, the second shot it has approved, as authorities accelerate inoculation efforts amid fears about more infectious variants of the coronavirus.

Vaccinating the European Union's 450 million people could be crucial to ending a pandemic that has killed almost 1.9 million people globally. The approval comes as countries are racing to contain two variants found in South Africa and Britain that are more transmissible and have driven a surge in infections.

The EU's European Medicines Authority (EMA) said it had given the go-ahead for the use of the Moderna vaccine on people aged over 18 following an assessment of the data on quality, safety and efficacy.

The final step before it can be rolled out across the European Union is approval by the bloc's executive body, the European Commission, which is expected to follow soon.

The decision, coming just over a year since the first outbreak of the virus was identified in China, marks the second regulatory authorization for Moderna's vaccine after the United States, and further validation of new genetic mRNA technology.

“This vaccine provides us with another tool to overcome the current emergency,” said Emer Cooke, EMA executive director.

The EU approved a shot from Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE, also based on mRNA technology.

The regulator has given a conditional marketing approval for both, rather than the ultra-fast emergency use clearance issued by Britain, which the EMA says requires more detailed study of the data.

Also Read - All eyes on Covid-19 vaccine

Effective against variant?

The EU has ordered 160 million doses of the shot developed by Moderna, a US biotech company, enough to vaccinate 80 million people in its 27 member states.

The vaccine was about 95% effective at preventing illness in clinical trials, which found no serious safety issues. It has to be stored and shipped frozen, but does not require the ultra-cold temperatures of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Once thawed, it can be kept at typical refrigerator temperatures.

The Dutch national drugs authority, the CBG, said the Moderna vaccine was expected to be effective against the variant of the coronavirus detected in Britain, but cautioned this had to be confirmed by further research.

The CBG added that the European Commission was expected to give the final stamp of approval to the shot later on Wednesday.

US record deaths

The United States breaks its own record for the number of daily virus deaths yet again, recording 3,936 in 24 hours, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

China blocks WHO mission

An expert mission to China to probe the origins of the pandemic is in disarray after Beijing denies entry to the World Health Organization team at the last minute despite months of painstaking negotiations.

With some members of the 10-person team already in transit, China denies them entry visas, prodding WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to say he was “very disappointed.”

It is “not just a visa issue,” Beijing foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying insists. “The issue of origin-tracing is incredibly complicated,” she tells reporters.
UK's vaccine vow

Britain promises a "massive increase in the numbers" of its vaccination program, pledging that nearly 14 million people in the coming weeks will get a first dose.

Also Read - India to export Covid-19 vaccines within weeks

Last in line

The Netherlands administers its first shot to a nursing home worker, as it becomes the last country in the 27-nation EU to start its vaccination program.

Media deaths

More than 600 journalists have died of Covid-19 since March 1, a press freedom organization says, calling for media workers to have priority access to vaccines.

Of the 602 media workers known to have died from the virus, more than half were from Latin America, with 303 fatalities, Asia recorded 145 deaths, while 94 died in Europe, 32 in North America and 28 in Africa.

1.86 million dead

The coronavirus has killed at least 1,869,674 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally on Wednesday based on official sources.

The US is the worst-affected country with 357,377 deaths, followed by Brazil with 197,732, India with 150,114 and Mexico with 128,822.

Facebook 53
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail