EMA Approves Second Covid-19 Vaccine: Austria Receives 890,000 Doses

Lifestyle & TravelHealth ♦ Published: January 7, 2021; 16:20 ♦ (Vindobona)

The European Medical Agency (EMA) and the European Commission have approved the second Covid-19 vaccine for EU member states. The vaccine from the producer Moderna will provide Austria with another 890,000 doses in the first half of 2021. Austria's Health Minister expects approval for the vaccine from AstraZeneca by February.

The Covid-19 vaccine from the biotechnology company Moderna with headquarters in Cambridge, USA, has been approved by the EMA. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Fletcher / CC BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

The European Commission approved Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine.

The green light followed a scientific recommendation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) based on a thorough evaluation of the vaccine's safety, efficacy and quality.

EU member states also gave their approval.

EU Commission President von der Leyen said:

"We are providing more Covid-19 vaccines for Europeans. With the Moderna vaccine, the second one now authorized in the EU, we will have a further 160 million doses. And more vaccines will come. Europe has secured up to two billion doses of potential Covid-19 vaccines. We'll have more than enough safe and effective vaccines for protecting all Europeans."

The first to be licensed in the EU, BioNTech/Pfizer's vaccine was approved December 21 and is already in use.

The European Commission, on behalf of all member states, has secured 200 million doses of BioNTech/Pfizer's vaccine and agreed an option for an additional 100 million doses, which is now being activated.

As part of the EU Vaccine Strategy initiated in June 2020, the Commission is entering into off-take guarantees with vaccine manufacturers on behalf of the member states, thereby also supporting the companies in developing the vaccines and expanding production capacity.

To date, agreements have been reached with AstraZeneca, BioNTech/Pfizer, Sanofi-GSK, Johnson & Johnson, CureVac and Moderna.

In addition, exploratory discussions were concluded with Novavax.

In building the diversified vaccine portfolio - currently comprising up to two billion doses - the EU is focusing on different manufacturers and different technologies in order to spread the risk.

Once vaccines are proven safe and effective, all member states will be able to purchase them at the same time and on the same terms.

"The recommendation by the EMA for approval of the marketing authorization of a second vaccine is good news for the EU and for Austria - our predictions have been fulfilled once again. I now expect AstraZeneca's vaccine to receive marketing authorization in February. This means that our vaccination strategy can be implemented step by step as planned," says a delighted Austrian Health Minister Rudolf Anschober.

Austria expects Moderna to deliver 200,000 vaccine doses in the first quarter and 690,000 in the second quarter, for a total of 890,000 doses in the first half of the year.

The vaccine from Moderna also requires two vaccinations and cold storage - at minus 20 degrees Celsius.

Thus, after these two approvals, Austria will receive 927,000 doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine and 200,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine in the first quarter.