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BY REUTERS,BRUSSELS,2ND DEC,2020– The European Union’s drug watchdog and lawmakers warned against hasty approvals of COVID-19 vaccines on Wednesday, after Britain granted emergency authorisation to the experimental COVID-19 shot being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.
Britain is the first Western country to approve a COVID-19 vaccine, a move that many see as a political coup for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government, which has faced criticism over its handling of the coronavirus crisis.
The decision was made under an emergency, ultra-fast approval process.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA), which is in charge of approving COVID-19 vaccines for the EU, said its longer procedure to approve vaccines was more appropriate as it was based on more evidence and required more checks than the emergency procedure chosen by Britain.
Asked about the British approval of the Pfizer vaccine, the agency said: “EMA considers that the conditional marketing authorisation is the most appropriate regulatory mechanism for use in the current pandemic emergency.”