A European Union lawmaker and physician has called the UK’s decision to authorize the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine “hasty,” and is recommending other European countries do not follow suit.
In a statement published on the official’s website on Wednesday, Peter Liese, health policy spokesman of the European People’s Party — the largest political group in the EU Parliament — said:
“I consider this decision to be problematic and recommend that EU Member States do not repeat the process in the same way. A few weeks of thorough examination by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is better than a hasty emergency marketing authorisation of a vaccine.”
Liese stressed his criticism of the UK’s decision has “nothing to do with Brexit” according to the statement. However, he accuses it of being “an attempt to distract attention from the failure of Boris Johnson’s government in the Corona crisis,” it reads.
EU member states cannot distribute a Covid-19 vaccine until it has been approved by the EMA and signed off by the European Commission, according to the EMA’s rules. The EMA will conclude its decision on the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on December 29, and Moderna on January 12.
The European Commission would then need a few days to prepare the legal paperwork and discuss its decision to authorize the vaccine with member states, a spokesperson told CNN.
“If the European Medicines Agency concludes in the course of this month that the vaccination is safe, I will recommend that everyone will be vaccinated. As long as this is not the case, one should be careful,” Liese said.
“I have confidence in Biontech, but ‘Confidence is good, control is better’. Emergency authorisation is a tool normally intended for patients who suffer from a serious and incurable disease and where there is no other means of saving life or physical integrity. This is not the case with corona,” the statement read.
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