EU clears new vaccine factories to boost Covid inoculation drive

covid-vaccine
Eu Clears New Vaccine Factories To Boost Covid Inoculation Drive
Sites in the Netherlands and Germany have been cleared to produce Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines. Photo: Getty Images.
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Thomson Reuters

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved two factories on Friday for the production of Covid-19 vaccines, with the European Union banking on them to boost deliveries in the year's second quarter.

The EMA said in statement it had cleared the Halix production site in the Netherlands that makes the AstraZeneca vaccine and a facility in Marburg in Germany producing BioNTech/Pfizer shots.

The European Union has blamed massive shortfalls of AstraZeneca doses for the slow roll-out of vaccines across the bloc, while BioNTech/Pfizer has plans to sharply increase its deliveries in the second quarter.

AstraZeneca submitted a request to the EMA on Wednesday for authorisation of its Dutch plant run by subcontractor Halix. The European Union's health chief said swift approval could lead to the first EU deliveries by the end of this month.

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German biotech firm BioNTech in February launched a new facility in the town of Marburg, saying it expected the first vaccines made there to be distributed in early April.

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