European Medicines Agency recommends Moderna Covid-19 vaccine for authorisation in EU

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on January 6 that it had recommended granting a conditional marketing authorisation for Covid-19 Vaccine Moderna to prevent Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in people from 18 years of age.

This is the second Covid-19 vaccine that EMA has recommended for authorisation, after its recommendation for authorisation of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine on December 21.

EMA’s human medicines committee (CHMP) has thoroughly assessed the data on the quality, safety and efficacy of the vaccine and recommended by consensus a formal conditional marketing authorisation be granted by the European Commission. This will assure EU citizens that the vaccine meets EU standards and puts in place the safeguards, controls and obligations to underpin EU-wide vaccination campaigns, the agency said.

“This vaccine provides us with another tool to overcome the current emergency,” said Emer Cooke, Executive Director of EMA. “It is a testament to the efforts and commitment of all involved that we have this second positive vaccine recommendation just short of a year since the pandemic was declared by WHO.

“As for all medicines, we will closely monitor data on the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine to ensure ongoing protection of the EU public. Our work will always be guided by the scientific evidence and our commitment to safeguard the health of EU citizens.”

A very large clinical trial showed that Covid-19 Vaccine Moderna was effective at preventing Covid-19 in people from 18 years of age.

The trial involved around 30 000 people in total. Half received the vaccine and half were given dummy injections. People did not know whether they received the vaccine or the dummy injections.

Efficacy was calculated in around 28 000 people from 18 to 94 years of age who had no sign of previous infection.

The trial showed a 94.1 per cent reduction in the number of symptomatic Covid-19 cases in the people who received the vaccine (11 out of 14,134 vaccinated people got Covid-19 with symptoms) compared with people who received dummy injections (185 out of 14 073 people who received dummy injections got Covid-19 with symptoms). This means that the vaccine demonstrated a 94.1 per cent efficacy in the trial, the EMA said.

The trial also showed 90.9 per cent efficacy in participants at risk of severe Covid-19, including those with chronic lung disease, heart disease, obesity, liver disease, diabetes or HIV infection. The high efficacy was also maintained across genders, racial and ethnic groups.

Covid-19 Vaccine Moderna is given as two injections into the arm, 28 days apart. The most common side effects with Covid-19 Vaccine Moderna were usually mild or moderate and got better within a few days after vaccination. The most common side effects are pain and swelling at the injection site, tiredness, chills, fever, swollen or tender lymph nodes under the arm, headache, muscle and joint pain, nausea and vomiting.

The safety and effectiveness of the vaccine will continue to be monitored as it is used across the EU, through the EU pharmacovigilance system and additional studies by the company and by European authorities, the EMA said.

(Photo via the European Commission office in Bulgaria)

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The Sofia Globe staff

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