The EMA’s recommendation for the vaccine from BioNTech and Pfizer was eagerly awaited. Yesterday afternoon, the green light was given: vaccination can begin.
The next step is for the EU Commission to decide on the use of the preparation for all member countries – this is considered a formality and should happen before Christmas.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) spoke of a “joyful day after ten months of hard fighting against the Corona pandemic”. He said that if the EU gives the green light, Austria will “swiftly begin distribution and the first vaccinations will start on December 27.” About 10,000 vaccine doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine are expected to arrive in Austria this year. As the vaccination will take place in two parts, around 5,000 people can be vaccinated before the turn of the year.
But what can the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine actually do? The most important questions and answers:
▶How does the vaccine work?
It is an mRNA vaccine. It is the first of its kind to be approved. The difference from other vaccines: It does not contain attenuated or killed viruses, but the blueprint for a component of the pathogen.
▶What does it protect?
The vaccine trials show that people no longer become symptomatically ill. Whether the vaccination also prevents infection is currently unclear.
▶How well does it protect?
According to the clinical trials, BioNTech states that the efficacy is 95%. This means that among the test subjects in the vaccinated group, 95% fewer illnesses occurred than in the control group. Whether the high efficacy will also be achieved with mass use remains to be seen.
▶What influence do mutations have on efficacy?
The immune responses elicited by the vaccine are directed against several features of the virus; individual mutations are unlikely to have a dramatic effect.
▶What are the side effects?
Fatigue, headache, pain at the injection site are the most common side effects – this is very common, according to vaccination experts. But they were weak to moderate and of short duration.
— hp, with reports from news agencies, biontecht/Pfizer and krone.at. Picture: pixabay.com
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