|Author (Corporate)||Cardiff EDC|
Information Guide concerning the vaccination process carried out across Europe to address the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
COVID-19 vaccines aim at preventing the condition by triggering an immune response. Most of these vaccines trigger theses immune responses to a tiny fragment of SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19 disease. If a person who has received a vaccine is infected by the virus later on, the immune system recognises the virus. As it is already prepared to attack the virus, the person's immune system is able to protect them from the disease.
The European Union became responsible for ensuring the authorisation of COVID-19 vaccines in the EU and the wider European Economic Area (EEA). In June 2020, the Commission published the so-called EU Vaccination Strategy. The European Council and the Member States also mandated the Commission to organise the joint procurement of vaccines. On 15 October, a further EC Communication was published on key elements to be taken into account by Member States in their national vaccination strategies.
A number of contracts - also known as Advance Purchase Agreements (APAs) - were signed between the European Commission and different pharmaceutical companies to develop a varied portfolio of COVID-19 vaccines and other treatments. These included contracts for securing billions of vaccine doses produced by BioNTech-Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sanofi-GSK; Johnson and Johnson; CureVac and Moderna. The first vaccine - produced by BioNTech-Pfizer - was formally authorised by the European Commission on 21 December 2020, following an assessment by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and consultation with the EU Member States. Vaccination started across the EU on 27 December 2020. The vaccine produced by Moderna was approved by the Commission on 6 January 2021.
Elsewhere in Europe, the British government secured similar purchase agreements with a number of pharmaceutical companies. The UK's medicines authority (MHRA) authorised the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on 1 December 2020, in what was considered to be an extremely fast authorisation process. The first person was vaccinated against the disease in the United Kingdom on 8 December. In Russia, the National Research Centre for Epidemiology and Microbiology developed its own vaccine against COVID-19 as an alternative to the effort undertaken by (mostly western) pharmaceutical companies.
Selection of Official Websites and Useful Resources (check the latter half of the page for further sources):
|Subject Tags||Medicines | Medical Devices, Public Health|
|Countries / Regions||Europe|
|International Organisations||European Union [EU]|