The EU’s medicines regulator on Wednesday recommended authorizing a second coronavirus vaccine developed by biotechnology company Moderna.
The European Commission now needs to approve the vaccine to make it available to member states.
Many hope that with two vaccines authorized in the EU, those who are vulnerable to the disease will be vaccinated more quickly.
Vaccinations began across member states on Dec. 7 after the bloc authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Like that vaccine, the Moderna jab uses messenger RNA (mRNA) to instruct cells to make the coronavirus’ spike protein to produce antibodies to help fight off an infection by the coronavirus.
Like the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna vaccine requires two doses to be effective.
The U.S. got first dibs on supplies of the jab in exchange for funding its research and development, and other countries were offered deliveries early in 2021.
„Now we are working at full speed to approve it & make it available in the EU,” said EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday, as she welcomed the news.
Valeriu Gheorghita, the doctor in charge of Romania’s vaccine campaign recently said Romania had a contract for 3.5 million doses of Moderna and could ask for more pending its approval from the European Medicines Agency which could come in a couple of days.
Romania currently has contracts for 12 million Pfizer doses.
The medical agency’s human medicines committee endorsed the Moderna vaccine during a meeting Wednesday, saying it is safe and effective for people 18 and older.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, will now fast-track its decision about whether to authorize use of the vaccine.
Last month, it authorized the Pfizer vaccine within hours of the regulator’s green light.
„This vaccine provides us with another tool to overcome the current emergency,” said Emer Cooke, executive director of the European Medicines Agency, hailing the arrival of another vaccine less than a year after the pandemic was declared.