Hours later, it was approved by the European Commission, a step that was considered a formality. The rubber stamp, announced by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, means it is now the second vaccine available in the EU to fight the coronavirus.
“With the Moderna vaccine, the second one now authorised in the EU, we will have a further 160 million doses. And more vaccines will come,” von der Leyen said in a statement.
Leaders of EU nations have come under fire for their slow vaccine rollout programs, compared with those in Israel and other countries.
The BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine is currently the only authorized coronavirus vaccination in the EU.
It received fast-track authorization by the EMA on December 21, but supply chain issues and low production capacity have marred the rollout of the mass vaccination programs across the bloc.
“This vaccine provides us with another tool to overcome the current emergency,” Emer Cooke, Executive Director of EMA, said.
Wednesday’s EMA meeting to discuss the Moderna vaccine was the second this week after an initial meeting on Monday proved inconclusive.
The United States, Canada and Israel have already authorized the Moderna shot.
The commission could finally approve the vaccine later on Wednesday, news agency Reuters reported, citing the Dutch medicines authority.