The EU on Monday granted conditional market authorization to the COVID-19 vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer.

“European Medicines Agency assess this vaccine thoroughly. And they’ve concluded that it is safe and effective against COVID-19. Based on this scientific assessment, we proceeded to authorize it for the European Union market,” European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference.

The EU Commission’s approval came immediately after the European Medicine Agency (EMA) gave conditional approval for the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine to be used in the European Union.

The Commission’s approval is a must for the vaccine to be distributed across the EU member states.

Von der Leyen said the vaccine will be available for all member states at the same time and on the same conditions, and the first batches of the vaccine will be shipped from Pfizer’s manufacturing site in Belgium in the coming days.

“Vaccination can start at the same time, during the European Union vaccination days, on December, 27th, 28th, and 29th,” she added.

The top EU official also said more vaccines would be approved soon if they proved to be safe and effective and EMA would issue its opinion on the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna on Jan. 6.

“Allow me to say how proud I am that the first COVID-19 vaccine available in Europe is a true product of European innovation,” she concluded.

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