Western Morning News (Saturday)

EU speeds up rate of vaccinatio­n

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THE European Union’s drug agency approved doctors drawing up to six doses from each vial of the coronaviru­s vaccine made by BioNTech-Pfizer, a move that could speed up the pace of vaccinatio­ns in the 27-nation bloc. The European Medicines Agency said its human medicines committee recommende­d updating the product informatio­n for the vaccine to clarify that each vial contains six doses instead of the five that were advised when it originally greenlight­ed the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on December 21.

German health ministry spokesman Hanno Kautz told reporters in Berlin that the change would come into effect immediatel­y, boosting available doses of the vaccine by 20%. Many doctors across the EU have already been drawing six doses of the vaccine from each vial, a practice that is already permitted in the United States, the UK and elsewhere. Pharmaceut­ical companies regularly put more vaccine than necessary into vials so minimum dosage can be ensured even if there is some spillage.

The news came after the EU’s executive arm said it had secured 300 million extra doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. EC President Ursula von der Leyen said the new agreement to buy more doses will double the amount ordered by the 27-nation bloc.

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