The second COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the European Union. This is a welcome development, to combat the tension arising in view of the slow approvals and vaccination programmes. The second vaccine that has been approved was produced by Moderna and should help in addressing the shortfall, due to the high demand globally.
The European Union needs all the help it can get, especially when considering that it is lagging behind Israel, the United States and Britain. The European council president, Charles Michel has described this mass inoculation as a great challenge.
The European Commission has committed to purchase a hundred and sixty million doses of this vaccine originating from the United States. Its high efficacy rate follows a similar level to that produced by the Pfizer vaccine, with the Moderna jab being at ninety four percent effective. The other benefit is that delivery and movement of this vaccine should be easier as it does not need to be stored in cold temperatures like the Pfizer jab.
The European Union started with its vaccination programme on the 27th of December. With that said, the process has been criticised as it is deemed too slow. The United States and UK are surpassing European Union Members, with Israel stealing the show having vaccinated over sixteen percent of its population.
Although two billion doses from over six different vaccine producers have been ordered, the issue revolves around the fact that producing them is taking long and countries are also slow in inoculating their people.
Some factors which impacted European Union Members negatively is the fact that BioNTech did not manage to deliver the twelve and a half million vaccines that it promised by end of year due to supply chain challenges.
Another issue is tied to the fact that the Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at minus seventy degrees Celsius, whilst countries such as France took an ultra-conservative approach, including a lengthy consent process for each patient.
Similar to the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna jab will be given over two doses, which would be twenty-eight days apart. It has been confirmed that Malta has ordered a hundred thousand vaccines from Moderna in anticipation of its timeline for inoculations. The Health Minister, Chris Fearne, has stated that Malta is aiming to have sixteen thousand people vaccinated by the end of January, with all frontliners, care home residents, staff and vulnerable people to receive their jab by the end of May.
As more vaccines become available, the fight against COVID-19 becomes more manageable and in the coming weeks, we should be hearing of approval for the third vaccine, the one produced by Oxford and AstraZeneca.