With the vaccines from Moderna and Curevac, the EU will soon have overtaken Great Britain in terms of supply of high-quality mRNA vaccines / EMA still has to approve change in the administration of the BioNTech vaccine this week / Through careful work with suitable syringes, 20% more people can be vaccinated from one ampoule


The European Medicines Agency recommended a second vaccine against the coronavirus for approval on Wednesday. This was confirmed by the authority in Amsterdam. Formal approval by the European Commission is expected in the next few hours. The EU has secured a total of 160 million doses from the American manufacturer who also produces on the European continent.

“Through the approval of the vaccine from Moderna we can significantly increase the number of people who are vaccinated on a daily basis. Since there is still another mRNA vaccine in the portfolio of the EU, namely by the German company CureVac, these numbers are likely to be increased significantly again in spring. Compared to Great Britain, the European Union has secured three times more Moderna vaccine per capita. Concerning BioNTech, the per capita order is roughly the same. Concerning CureVac, the European Union has secured 405 million doses, Great Britain none. Therefore, it is only a matter of weeks until the number of people who are vaccinated with the modern mRNA – vaccines, will be significantly higher in the European Union per capita than in the UK,” said the health spokesperson of the largest political group in the European Parliament (EPP, Christian Democrats) Dr. med. Peter Liese.

Liese regretted that the European Medicines Agency did not approve an amendment from BioNtech at the same time. Initially, BioNTech had requested to obtain only five doses from one ampoule. However, it turned out that with careful work and the use of special syringes that are easily available, six doses can be obtained and 20 percent more people can be vaccinated. The responsible people in the member states should order these special syringes (Low Dead Space Syringes) now. They are easily available and are used daily in doctor's offices, hospitals and even by patients at home. The costs are about a few cents each (available from 0,09€, status today). BioNtech and the EMA have to agree on the details in the next few hours. Apart from that, the German federal and state health ministries made clear that six doses are already possible today when applied correctly. As doctor I know that sometimes you have to act pragmatically even if the final permission is not available, yet,” said Liese.

Liese had presented a 10-point paper on vaccine supply in the European Union on Tuesday (s. https://www.peter-liese.de/images/10-Point-Plan-Vaccine-Supply.pdf). In addition to the approval of the Moderna vaccine and increase of five to six doses, he proposes a cooperation between the two German manufacturers BioNTech and Curevac among other things. "However, the CureVac project should definitely be pursued as it is already in the third phase of clinical testing and the Curevac vaccine can make a significant contribution to combating the pandemic in spring,” said Liese.

The two main points that have to be dealt with during the next weeks, according to Liese, are:

Firstly, a limited approval of AstraZeneca's vaccine. This vaccine is based on a proven technology (vector vaccine) and various vaccines that are based on this technology and protect against other viruses, have already been approved. Unfortunately, the protective effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine is not as high as in the case of BioNTech and Moderna, especially in older people. Therefore, there are legitimate concerns about giving this vaccine to people at risk. The effectiveness in people at risk does not seem to be sufficient. For younger people, however, it is quite considerable.

Another problem is that AstraZeneca accidentally only gave half the dose to some of the study participants. This certainly does not increase confidence in this manufacturer. Surprisingly, the subjects who received half a dose had a better protective effect than those who received a full dose of the vaccine. Under normal circumstances, a clinical trial that has not been conducted correctly is not a basis for approval. However, it is justified to make an exception in these cases. However, one must very clearly limit the approval to those population groups in which a good protective effect was achieved in a clinical trial. It is also important to ensure that those who prefer to wait rather than being vaccinated with the “less effective” vaccine have this option. In the current situation, however, it is certainly justifiable to carry out a limited approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Everyone involved is working intensively on this option”, said the medical doctor and MEP.

Secondly, continue focusing on measures to limit risk exposure.
“Even in the US and Great Britain, avoiding risk contacts in the next few weeks is the most important measure against the coronavirus. Anyone who gives a different impression is guilty. Therefore, the measures that the federal and state governments agreed on yesterday [in Germany] are inevitable from my point of view. In addition, I urgently appeal to employers to let their employees work from home whenever possible and to the railway and other transport services, to follow the example of other countries and to occupy only 25% of the places on trains and buses. In other EU countries this has led to a significant decrease in the number of cases,” Liese concluded.