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EU approves Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for rollout

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·Finance and policy reporter
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Watch: EU regulator approves Moderna vaccine

EU regulators have approved the Moderna (MRNA) COVID-19 vaccine, paving the way for a mass vaccination programme across the bloc.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced on Wednesday that it was recommending the mRNA-1273 drug be authorised for adults. Moderna shares were 3.5% higher in the US in pre-market trading shortly after the announcement.

“This vaccine provides us with another tool to overcome the current emergency,” said Emer Cooke, executive director of the EMA, in a statement.

“It is a testament to the efforts and commitment of all involved that we have this second positive vaccine recommendation just short of a year since the pandemic was declared by WHO.

“As for all medicines, we will closely monitor data on the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine to ensure ongoing protection of the EU public. Our work will always be guided by the scientific evidence and our commitment to safeguard the health of EU citizens.”

A nurse prepares a syringe with the COVID-19 Moderna vaccine for a worker of the New York City Fire Department Bureau of Emergency Medical Services (FDNY EMS), amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., December 23, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
The Moderna vaccine has been signed off by EU regulators. Photo: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

READ MORE: FTSE 100 surges as Oxford-AstraZeneca rollout begins

The regulator noted the 94.1% effectiveness rate in large trials of the messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine. It said it would now fast-track its decision-making process, after EU officials faced some criticism for not moving faster to sign off vaccines.

The EU has a deal to secure 160 million doses of the vaccine, which are expected to be delivered in early 2021.

The US and Canada have already begun rolling the Moderna vaccine out. Israel on Tuesday became the first country outside of North America to authorise the vaccine, Reuters reported.

The UK has secured an order for seven million doses of the Moderna vaccine, though the vaccine is still being signed off by Britain's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The EU’s approval of the Moderna vaccine comes in the same week the UK began rolling out a second vaccine. UK-listed stocks rose on Monday as Britain became the first country in the world to begin vaccinating with AstraZeneca's and Oxford University's low-cost jab.

Watch: Will vaccine provide the route out of lockdown?

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