If the European Medicines Agency (EMA) grants the vaccine a "conditional marketing authorization," it will be the first coronavirus vaccine approved for use in the EU. But before member states can begin rolling out the vaccine, the European Commission must give its final approval, which is expected on December 23.
The EMA is planning to hold a virtual press briefing at 9am ET on the outcome of the meeting of its human medicines committee.
Last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it was “Europe’s moment” and that vaccinations would start across the bloc on December 27.
The EU has purchased over 2 billion doses of potential vaccines to ensure equitable access across the bloc since the summer. That agreement includes the purchase of 300 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which is enough to vaccinate 150 million of the EU’s 448 million citizens.
On Saturday, Switzerland, which is not in the EU, authorized the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The United Kingdom and the United States granted emergency use authorization of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine earlier this month, with the first leg of their rollout now underway.
The EU vaccine agreement also includes the purchase of up to 160 million doses -- enough for 80 million people -- from US biotech company Moderna, who could receive EMA authorization as early as January 6.