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EU authorizes Pfizer BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine

Christian Fernsby |
The European Union has authorized the Pfizer BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, with the first phase of the bloc's mass vaccination program to begin later this week.

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The move finalizes the recommendation of the European Union drugs regulator, who, just hours before, had granted the vaccine a conditional marketing authorization and paved the way for it to become the first coronavirus shot distributed in the bloc.

The first batches of the vaccine would be shipped from Pfizer's manufacturing site in Belgium in the next few days, with vaccinations starting on December 27.

Harald Enzmann, chair of the EMA's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP), earlier said that the agency realized that the speed at which the vaccine has been authorized has been a "cause for concern for many Europeans." But he stressed that "the data we have analyzed and our assessment of the data have met the standards for robustness and quality."

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