The authorization follows a positive recommendation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which reached the decision after an assessment of the vaccine’s quality, safety, and efficacy.
We are providing safe & effective #COVID19 vaccines for Europeans.
We have authorised the @moderna_tx vaccine, the 2nd vaccine approved in the EU.
“We are providing more COVID-19 vaccines for Europeans,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement.
“With the Moderna vaccine, the second one now authorized in the EU, we will have a further 160 million doses. And more vaccines will come.”
Von der Leyen said the EU had secured up to 2 billion doses of potential COVID-19 vaccines, “more than enough” for the whole population of the 27-nation bloc.
The European Commission signed a contract with Moderna on Nov. 25 to deliver 160 million doses between the first and the third quarters of 2021.
These will add to the 300 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which the EU approved on Dec. 21.
The EMA has given a “conditional marketing authorization” for both, rather than the ultra-fast emergency use clearance issued by Britain, which the EU regulator says requires more detailed study of the data.
The EU is the fourth jurisdiction to authorize the Moderna jab, following the United States, Canada, and Israel. The vaccine is currently under review in Singapore, Switzerland, and the UK.
The Dutch national drugs authority, the CBG, said the Moderna vaccine was expected to be effective against the variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus detected in Britain, but cautioned this had to be confirmed by further research.
It has to be stored and shipped frozen, but does not require the ultra-cold temperatures of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Once thawed, it can be kept at typical refrigerator temperatures.
EU countries started vaccinations on Dec. 27 and are trying to catch up with countries such as Britain and Israel where large numbers of people have already received inoculations.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that over 1.1 million people in England and over 1.3 million across the UK had been vaccinated with either the Pfizer/BioNTech or the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 jabs.
Reuters contributed to this report.