The European Union has authorized Moderna's vaccine for conditional use, the second Covid-19 inoculation to be given the green light.
The EU had secured the purchase of up to 160 million doses of the vaccine -- enough to vaccinate 80 million people of its 448 million citizens -- as part of a joint vaccine strategy aimed to ensure equitable access across the bloc.
The authorization comes as the region battles to slow the spread of a new variant of the virus, with several countries entering strict new lockdowns and shutting schools as the new year begins.
Emer Cooke, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) executive director, said on Wednesday that "this vaccine provides us with another tool to overcome the current emergency.
"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," she said.
Moderna submitted an application for authorization on November 30. The European Union has been conducting rolling reviews of data to expedite its approval processes.