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Can we expect the first COVID-19 vaccine authorisation?
According to health minister Chris Fearne, Europe’s medicines watchdog is expected to give Pfizer the first market authorisation for a COVID-19.
Pfizer is set to send out their final submissions to the European Medicines Agency. Then, once approval is given, which will most likely occur towards the end of December, the vaccine will roll out immediately.
Fearne informed local newspaper MaltaToday, that Malta has 500,000 coronavirus vaccine doses ordered from Pfizer. What’s more, the first batch could be expected to arrive on our shores no later than January 2021. Just to be safe, vaccine orders have also been placed with other manufacturers and not just Pfizer.
“When the vaccine is approved and released, the first trucks will depart to Malta. The overland journey will take between four and five days, which means that within a week the vaccine will be here and we can start vaccinating people,” said the minister.
The first to receive the vaccine will be the front liners, who are dealing with sick patients and anyone aged over 80 and over.
If you don’t fall within either of those categories, do not fret. According to Fearne, Malta has ordered enough vaccines to inoculate the entire population, and the nationwide rollout will take up to six months.
the beginning of the end
News of the high effectiveness rates in vaccine trials signals what may actually be the beginning of the end of this tumultuous year.
According to the WHO, over 150 vaccines are being developed globally. The EU has approved contracts with four companies and has secured millions of doses on behalf of all member states. Contracts have been signed with AstraZeneca, Sanofi-GSK, Johnson & Johnson, CureVac, BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna.
These agreements will allow member states to buy 160 million doses of the Moderna vaccine, 300 million of the AstraZeneca and Sanofi-GSK vaccines and 200 million of Johnson & Johnson. Also, the EU will be covering for the initial purchase of 200 million doses on behalf of all EU member states, for vaccines provided by BioNTech-Pfizer and another 225 million from CureVac.
when will the vaccines be ready?
Well, taking into consideration that BioNTech-Pfizer have finalised their Phase 3 trials, they may be among the first, if not the first, to have their vaccine on the market. The Moderna vaccine was also seen as a close contender, to be distributed first in Malta. Phase 3 trials began in July and preliminary results were announced in November. Not to mention that their results indicated a 94.5% effectiveness rate.
Astrazeneca are close by too, with finished data from Phase 2/3 trials showing good rates of efficacy.
CureVac and Sanofi-GSK are lagging a little behind, as their Phase 3 trials are expected by the end of the year.