Berlin pressures Brussels to license the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine before Christmas


Published: 2020-12-15 14:48

Last Updated: 2023-03-24 14:38

Photo: AP
Photo: AP


Berlin has put pressure on Brussels to speed up the issuance of the necessary licenses in the European Union to start using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine before Christmas, at a time when several countries, most notably Britain and the United States, have already started using innoculations.

The German newspaper "Bild," in its Tuesday issue, quoted sources close to the German government as saying that the office of Chancellor Angela Merkel and the German Ministry of Health are pressing both the European Medicines Agency and the European Union to approve the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by Dec. 23, not Dec. 29, as currently planned.

This information comes in the context of a statement made Sunday by German Health Minister Jens Spahn, in which he expressed his displeasure over the delay in the licensing process for this vaccine.

"All BioNTech data is available, and the licenses have already been issued by Britain and the United States," Spahn said. "The data should be reviewed and approval issued by the European Medicines Agency as soon as possible."

The German minister warned that "confidence in the European Union's ability to act is now at stake."

While the European Union is still conducting an evaluation process for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, many countries, led by Britain, the United States, Canada, Singapore and Bahrain, have already begun injecting their citizens with this vaccine.

The approval of the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is of particular importance to Berlin for two reasons: The first is that this vaccine was developed by a national company, Biontech, and the second is that Germany as a whole is currently experiencing a second epidemic wave that has inflicted severe damage, pushing the government to impose a partial closure throughout the country from Dec. 16 to Jan. 10. 

The Netherlands-based European Medicines Agency is currently studying the licensing of a number of vaccines against COVID-19.