Covid-19 Vaccine: Austria Awaits Approval for AstraZeneca

Lifestyle & TravelHealth ♦ Published: January 25, 2021; 21:00 ♦ (Vindobona)

The European Union's third Covid-19 vaccine might be approved very soon. A decision by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is expected by January 25, 2021. Austria's vaccination plan relies heavily on this third vaccine, although delivery shortages in the first months after approval have already been announced.

Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz at the virtual European Council. / Picture: © Bundeskanzleramt (BKA) / Dragan Tatic

Approval of the Covid-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca is expected by Friday, January 25, 2021.

Previously, Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz together with some other heads of government of the so-called first mover countries Australia, Denmark, Greece, Israel, Norway and the Czech Republic stressed that especially in view of the mutation of the virus, "every day" counts.

"Every week is crucial and every single day that enables earlier approval is a day won," Kurz explains.

In addition, he said, it is important to agree on travel regulations for the European Union that are as uniform as possible, especially regarding entry from third countries.

"We need a general approach and clear standards for travel and travel restrictions to enable maximum security in Europe," Sebastian Kurz said.

According to Kurz, the complete delivery of the vaccines from AstraZeneca would mean that "all people over 65 could be vaccinated in the first quarter."

However, recent reports state that the not yet approved vaccine will not be readily available in the requested volumes in the first quarter.

In a recent video conference with the EU heads of state and government, Sebastian Kurz was referring to the planned delivery volume of up to 2 million doses for Austria for this period.

This number, however, is likely to be reduced due to delivery shortages.

The issue of more restrictive travel procedures was also discussed during the conference.

"Everything must be done to prevent us from introducing further mutations into Europe. Therefore, I support stricter entry controls and testing obligations to prevent the spread of mutations," the Austrian head of government explained.

He said the main concern is the British mutation and those from South Africa, which are much more contagious.

"In an EU comparison, our country is doing very well in the fight against Covid-19. In terms of infection figures, we are in the best third of the member states, and in terms of the testing rate, we are even among the best 5," said Sebastian Kurz.