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EU regulator considering Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine approval

The drugs agency for the 27-nation EU has already approved two other coronavirus vaccines, one made by American drugmaker Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech and another by Moderna

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said AstraZeneca and Oxford University have submitted an application for their Covid-19 vaccine to be licensed across the European Union.

In a statement today, the EU regulator said it has received a request for the vaccine to be green-lighted under an expedited process and that it could be approved by January 29 during an EMA meeting, "provided that the data submitted on the quality, safety and efficacy of the vaccine are sufficiently robust and complete".

The drugs agency for the 27-nation EU has already approved two other coronavirus vaccines, one made by American drugmaker Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech and another by Moderna.

Switzerland approved the Moderna vaccine today and plans to immunise about 4% of its population using that and the Pfizer-BioNTech shot.

The UK gave its approval to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine last month and has been using it. India approved it this month.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to be a key vaccine for many countries because of its low cost, availability and ease of use.

It can be kept in refrigerators rather than the ultra-cold storage that the Pfizer vaccine requires. The company has said it plans to make up to three billion doses by the end of 2021.

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