The European Union could give the green light in December to Moderna and Pfizer / BioNTech vaccines

The European Medicines Agency could “give conditional marketing authorization from the second half of December, if the procedures go smoothly,” said the European Commission.

The EU could give the green light from mid-December to the Pfizer / BioNTech alliance, announced Thursday the president of the European Commission, after a summit where the 27 discussed a coordination of their control measures against the pandemic as the end of the year holidays approach.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is “In daily discussions” with its American counterpart, the powerful FDA, to “Synchronize their vaccine evaluations” anti-Covid, Ursula von der Leyen told a press conference. “If all the procedures go smoothly, the EMA could give the Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna vaccines their conditional marketing authorization as early as the second half of December”, underlined the head of the European executive. Asked about the possible use in the EU of the vaccine developed in Russia, which is trying in particular Hungary, she was very cautious: “Any vaccine must be submitted to the authorization procedure of the EMA, with complete transparency”.

The European Commission has so far signed five contracts to pre-order possible vaccines: with the Swedish-British AstraZenaca, the American Johnson & Johnson, the Franco-British duo Sanofi-GSK, the American-German duo Pfizer / BioNTech and the German CureVac. After a memorandum of understanding concluded in August with the American biotech Moderna, “We are continuing the talks and we are also in discussions with (the American) Novavax”, a précisé Ursula von der Leyen.

Discussions around a relaxation of restrictive measures

Meeting by videoconference for a summit mainly devoted to the management of the pandemic, European heads of state and government discussed how to ease restrictive measures in the run-up to the end of the year holidays without excessive slackening which would lead to “A third wave” contamination, according to a diplomatic source. According to her, they mentioned “The pressure (from citizens) to get together, to travel, to go to winter sports and to allow the distribution sector to make its turnover” at this crucial time – and the need to “take into account these aspirations relentlessly “.

“A balance to be found”, insisted German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, according to the same diplomatic source. “We have to learn the lessons of the past. Any relaxation will have to be gradual. We want to celebrate the end of the year celebrations but in safety ”, hammered before the press Charles Michel, President of the European Council (body representing the 27).

If Brussels tirelessly calls for the coordination of member states on their measures to fight the pandemic, efforts to harmonize quarantine rules or mutual recognition of virus detection tests remains complicated. “We’re not there yet”, according to a diplomatic source. The Commission formally recommended Wednesday to member states to use rapid antigenic tests under certain conditions to better contain the pandemic – but the multiplicity of these tests marketed with extremely varied standards requires the establishment of European criteria, insisted Ursula von der Leyen .