Roundup: EMA greenlights Novavax, Europe toughens Omicron rules

Madrid Desk, Dec 20 (EFE).- The European Medicines Agency on Monday recommended the approval of Novavax’s Covid-19 vaccine, which is set to become the fifth vaccine to be authorised for use in the European Union.

“After a thorough evaluation, EMA’s human medicines committee (CHMP) concluded by consensus that the data on the vaccine were robust and met the EU criteria for efficacy, safety and quality,” EMA said in a statement.

The vaccine, branded Nuvaxovid and manufactured in the United States, is a two-dose protein-based vaccine with a 90% efficiency against severe Covid-19 symptoms.

The European Commission had already signed a contract with the pharmaceutical company in August for the delivery of up to 200 million doses if it were to receive approval for EU distribution.

US pharmaceutical and biotechnology company Moderna announced on Monday its booster shot of the Covid-19 vaccine is effective against the highly transmissible coronavirus variant Omicron.

“It’s highly effective and extremely safe. I think it will protect people through the coming holiday period and through these winter months, when we’re going to see the most severe pressure of Omicron,” Moderna’s chief medical officer, Dr Paul Burton, said at a time when many European governments are looking to quickly roll out booster campaigns.

Moderna said the further testing of the mRNA-1273 vaccine and its efficiency was driven by the fast spread of Omicron, which has been reported in 89 countries and causing many to impose restrictions and travel bans.

The World Economic Forum, the elite annual meeting between business and economic leaders, announced Monday it would postpone the event due to the spread of Omicron.

The event was due to take place in Davos, a mountain spa resort in Switzerland famous for hosting the WEF, from January 17-21.

The move comes as Switzerland introduced new restrictions on the unvaccinated, who from Monday are not allowed entry into public indoor venues including restaurants, bars, cultural and sports facilities.

It is also introducing mandatory work from home in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus and ease the burden on hospitals. The rules will stay in place until January 24.

Germany is also likely to introduce new Covid-19 restrictions including limiting social gatherings to 10 people and closing night clubs on New Year’s Eve, according to a draft document.

The government is expected to announce the restrictions on Tuesday at a meeting between Chancellor Olaf Scholz and regional leaders.

Greece announced Monday it would increase police patrols over the Christmas period to prevent the spread of the virus.

Up to 10,000 officers will be deployed across the country to implement Covid-19 restrictions, the Greek minister for the protection of the citizen, Takis Theodorikakos, told local media.

Authorities said they were also discussing requiring a negative test as well as the Covid-19 vaccination certificate to enter restaurants and bars. EFE


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