BioNTech, Pfizer 'ready' to deliver vaccines across EU
The EU's drug regulator EMA on Monday recommended that the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine be authorised for use, but the European Commission must give final approval before inoculations can start.
"Today is a particularly personal and emotional day for us at BioNTech. Being in the heart of the EU, we are thrilled to be one step closer to potentially delivering the first vaccine in Europe to help combat this devastating pandemic," said the German company's co-founder Ugur Sahin.
"We are standing by ready to start the delivery of initial vaccine doses across the EU as soon as we get the green light," he said in a statement.
Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla also said that "if the European Commission issues an authorisation, we are ready to start delivering this vaccine to government-designated sites all across the EU where cases of disease continue to rise and several countries are managing lockdowns."
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has proven to be 95 percent effective in global trials where two doses are injected three weeks apart.
It must be stored at -70 degrees Celsius (-94 degrees Fahrenheit), a temperature much lower than standard freezers and which forced the company to develop special containers for transport.
Over a dozen countries have already approved the vaccine for use, including Britain and the United States.
Frustrated by the delay, Germany and other EU countries had pushed the EMA to bring forward its decision from December 29.
The European Commission has said inoculations will begin from December 27 if authorisation is granted.