BELGIUM: The European Union (EU) is all set to buy around 300 million doses of the BioNtech-Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The decision came after the vaccine showed strong results in trials.
However, the EU has refused to give details on how the vaccine will be rolled out. The organization insists that some steps will be followed before rolling out the vaccine. According to reports, the vaccine is believed to protect around 90% of people from developing COVID-19 symptoms.
On Monday, Pzifer and BioNTech stated that the vaccine had been tested on 43,500 people. Meanwhile, the companies plan to apply for emergency approval to use it by the end of November. A limited number of people are expected to get the vaccine this year.
At a press conference, European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said that the EU vaccine deal was “extremely important”. “The agreement means we are a step closer to what we set out to do – to have a broad and solid vaccine portfolio,” she said, adding that it would only be distributed once it is “proven to be safe”. The vaccine will not be a silver bullet that will make the virus disappear overnight”.
European countries are now battling with the second wave of COVID-19 infections. Spain and Italy recorded their highest number of deaths on Tuesday. BioNTech-Pfizer is the first pharmaceutical company to share data from the final stages of testing – known as a phase 3 trial. A Russian vaccine called Sputnik V has also produced encouraging data.
On Wednesday, Russian scientists announced that the Sputnik V vaccine had so far shown a 92% success rate. That data, however, has not been reviewed by outside analysts. Meanwhile, the EU has struck a deal to initially pay less for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate than the United States.