European responses to the corona crisis – Part 16

During the Coronavirus crises, the European Science-Media Hub is collecting and publishing a regular update of the most relevant releases provided by EU institutions and other European and global actors. 🆕 Last Update : 9 December 2022

February 3 – February 8, 2022 update

On 8 February 2022: the European Medicines Agency has started evaluating an application for the use of a booster dose of Comirnaty (BioNTech/Pfizer’s vaccine) in adolescents aged 12 to 15 years. An application in older adolescents aged 16 to 17 years is also ongoing.

On 3 February 2022: the Commission proposed to extend the EU Digital Covid Certificate system by a year, until 30 June 2023. This way, travellers can continue to use it in case public health measures are maintained. The Commission also proposed some amendments such as: include high-quality laboratory-based antigen tests among the types of tests for which a test certificate can be issued, and ensure that certificates contain the correct number of vaccination doses in case someone was vaccinated across borders within the EU.

December 7 – December 20, 2021 update

On 20 December 2021: the EMA (European Medicines Agency) has recommended granting a conditional marketing authorisation for Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine Nuvaxovid (also known as NVX-CoV2373) to prevent COVID-19 in people from 18 years of age. The results of two studies show an efficacy for this vaccine of around 90% on average.
On 17 December 2021: The European Commission has delivered 305 disinfection robots to hospitals across the EU to ease the burden on hospitals due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
On 15 December 2021: the EMA concludes that a booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine Janssen may be considered at least two months after the first dose in people aged 18 years and above.
On 7 December 2021: The EMA and ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) give a positive recommendation on heterologous vaccination courses against Covid-19. This ‘mix-and-match’ approach can be used for both initial courses and boosters. According to studies, the combination of viral vector vaccines and mRNA vaccines produces good levels of antibodies and a higher T-cell response than using the same vaccine (homologous vaccination) whether in a primary or booster regimen. The heterologous regimens were generally well tolerated.

November 25 – December 1, 2021 update

On 1 December 2021: The Commission has put forward a Communication for a common and coordinated EU approach to effectively address the rapidly rising Covid-19 case numbers and the potential threat of the Omicron variant. This includes a joint EU strategy to limit the entry of the Omicron variant with regular, daily reviews of essential travel restrictions and controls. Member States should also run renewed campaigns to target unvaccinated people and rapidly deploy booster doses.

On 25 November 2021: EMA recommends the approval of the Comirnaty Covid-19 vaccine of Pfizer/BioNtech for children aged 5 to 11. The dose will be lower for them than that used in people aged 12 and above (10 µg compared with 30 µg), but it is also given as two injections in the muscles of the upper arm, three weeks apart. Research shows that the vaccine in children is 90.7% effective at preventing symptomatic Covid-19 (although the true rate could be between 67.7% and 98.3%).

On 25 November 2021: the European Commission proposes to strengthen the coordination of safe travel in the EU. This includes a stronger focus on a ‘person-based’ approach to travel measures and a standard acceptance period for vaccination certificates of 9 months. The Commission is also proposing updates to the EU traffic light map, as well as a simplified ‘emergency brake’ procedure. To allow sufficient time for the coordinated approach to be implemented, the Commission proposes that these updates apply as of 10 January 2022.

October 11 – November 10, 2021 update

On 10 November 2021: The European Commission approves a contract with the French company Valneva: As soon as its candidate Covid-19 vaccine VLA2001 has been authorised, EU Member States will be able to purchase around 60 million doses in 2022 and 2023. The contract also makes it possible to adapt the vaccine to new variant strains.

On 10 November 2021: The European Medicines Agency (EMA) starts evaluating the use of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (Spikevax) in children aged 6 to 11.

On 29 October 2021: After assessing further data on the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis (inflammatory conditions of the heart) after vaccination with Pfizer’s Comirnaty and Moderna’s Spikevax, EMA found no link.

On 22 October 2021 2021: The Commission establishes a portfolio of 10 potential COVID-19 therapeutics based on independent scientific advice. The list focuses on COVID-19 treatment candidates that are likely to be authorised and therefore available on the European market soon.

On 18 October 2021 2021: According to a new report, the EU certificate is crucial in Europe’s response to the pandemic with more than 591 million certificates generated to facilitate safe travel. The EU Digital COVID Certificate system is also a success worldwide, as it has set a standard and is currently the only system operational globally. In addition to the 27 EU Member States, 16 non-EU jurisdictions are linked to the system, and more will follow.

On 18 October 2021 2021: The EMA starts evaluating the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty in children aged 5 to 11.

On 11 October 2021 2021: The Commission proposes to amend the EU Budget 2021, so it will provide more funding for Covid-19 vaccination. The money, an additional €450 million, is needed to secure an additional 200 million vaccine doses for low and middle-income countries through the COVAX facility.

Consult older ESMH articles on the European responses to the corona crisis

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