European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen has called for unity — and vaccinations before Christmas. She said poorer non-EU countries will also get vaccines, as Germany announces its vaccine rollout date.
With pressure mounting on the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to speed up its review of the new BioNTech-Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told European parliamentarians that all 27 member states could be able to begin vaccination programs on the same day, possibly before Christmas.
Her speech to the bloc’s lawmakers stressed unity and hard work ahead. Noting that the EMA has decided to expedite its hearing on the efficacy and safety of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine from December 29 up to the 21st, von der Leyen expressed confidence that the virus could be beaten.
She noted that the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine was the first of six to be reviewed, all of which the bloc has already ordered to be able to administer each as soon as they are approved for use. “Finally, within a week, the first vaccine will be authorized so that vaccinations can start immediately and more will follow in the new year,” she said.
Von der Leyen also released a tweet expressing the need for unity: “This is a huge task. So let’s start rapidly with the vaccination together, as 27, on the same day. As we have been united through the pandemic, we will get out of it together & united.”