July 9 – September 21, 2021 update
On 21 September 2021: The European Commission has donated the 200th disinfection robot to a hospital in Barcelona, and confirmed a further 100, bringing the total donations to 300. The robots help sanitise COVID-19 patient rooms and are part of the Commission’s action to help EU hospitals cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
On 16 September 2021: A new authority, the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA), has been launched to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to health emergencies. HERA will help anticipating health threats, and when an emergency hits, HERA will ensure the development, production and distribution of medicines, vaccines and other medical countermeasures, such as gloves and masks.
On 4 August 2021: The European Commission approves a new contract to potentially buy the COVID-19 vaccine Novavax. Under this contract, EU countries will be able to purchase up to 100 million doses of this vaccine, with an option for 100 million additional doses over the next years, once reviewed and approved by the European Medicines Agency as safe and effective.
On 27 July 2021: The EU reaches its target to protect 70% of adults with at least one vaccination in July. 57% of adults are fully vaccinated. “These figures put Europe among the world leaders”, says Commission President Von der Leyen. “But we need to keep up the effort.”
On 23 July 2021: The European Medicines Agency (EMA) approves the use of the COVID-19 vaccine Spikevax (previously Moderna) in children aged 12 to 17.
On 22 July 2021: The Commission issues new guidelines for EU Member States on how to check the EU Digital COVID Certificate before air travel. To avoid duplication of certificate checks by more than one actor (airline operators, public authorities etc.), the Commission recommends a ‘one-stop’ verification process, involving coordination between authorities, airports and airlines.
On 22 July 2021: EMA lists the Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) as a very rare side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine Janssen. GBS is a rare neurological disorder in which the body’s immune system damages nerve cells. Most people fully recover from the disorder. EMA confirms that the benefits of the Janssen vaccine continue to outweigh the risks.
A review of GBS cases also took place for the Vaxzevria vaccine (previously AstraZeneca). A warning will be included in the product information of both the vaccines.
On 20 July 2021: EMA starts a rolling review of Vidprevtyn, a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sanofi Pasteur. The rolling review will continue until enough evidence is available for a formal marketing authorisation application.
On 9 July 2021: EMA advises against the use of the COVID-19 vaccine Janssen in people with a history of capillary leak syndrome. EMA also recommends that capillary leak syndrome should be added to the product information as a very rare side effect of the vaccine.
Consult older ESMH articles on the European responses to the corona crisis