European watchdog could decide on AstraZeneca vaccine by end-Jan

FILE PHOTO: Vials with a sticker reading, "COVID-19 / Coronavirus vaccine / Injection only" and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken October 31, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Europe’s medicines regulator expects drugmaker AstraZeneca to apply for approval of its COVID-19 vaccine next week, it said on Friday.

The Astrazeneca shot, which was developed with Oxford University, was given a green light by authorities in Britain on Dec. 30.

Emergency use authorisation has since been granted in India, Argentina, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico and Morocco for the active immunisation of adults, it said.

The European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) Deputy Executive Director, Noel Wathion, last week said that approval of AstraZeneca’s vaccine this month looked highly improbable because the company had yet to submit sufficient information.

But the watchdog said on Twitter on Friday that it could possibly reach a conclusion on the vaccine by the end of the month.

It has so far recommended the Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna vaccines for European Union approval, which was quickly granted for both.

Reporting by Bart Meijer and Anthony Deutsch; Editing by David Goodman