Portugal can get Pfizer COVID-19 shots within 3 days of EU approval, company says

LISBON, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Pfizer’s Portuguese unit said on Wednesday the pharmaceutical company would be able to distribute its COVID-19 vaccine in the Iberian country three days after the European Union’s medicines agency (EMA) has given it the green light.

“Once approved and once we know (...) where the vaccines should be delivered, we will get the vaccines to those places in a maximum of three days,” Susana Marques, medical director at Pfizer Portugal, told RTP Television.

The EMA said on Tuesday it could complete its reviews of candidate vaccines by Dec. 29 if drugmakers including Pfizer have provided it with sufficient data.

Portugal’s Health Minister Marta Temido said last month she hoped the country would be ready to start distributing shots as early as January.

The government is set to announce its vaccination strategy on Thursday after a group of experts worked to decide which groups should get the vaccine first, as well as to look at distribution logistics from transport to storage.

The health ministry has said the country of around 10 million people has contracts to buy 22 million doses of vaccines, without specifying from which, or how many, manufacturers.

Britain approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, jumping ahead of the United States and Europe to become the West’s first country to formally endorse the shot. (Reporting by Lisbon bureau, Writing by Catarina Demony, Editing by Mark Potter)