The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said the Covid-19 vaccine developed by US drug maker Pfizer and German firm BioNTech can be stored in the fridge for up to a month, significantly extending the jab’s lifespan in EU nations.
On Monday the regulator said its decision, which follows advice from its human medicines committee, will better “facilitate the handling of the vaccine.”
Unopened thawed Pfizer vials can now be kept at between two and eight degrees Celsius (normal fridge temperature) for 31 days, up from the previous five days.
The vaccine’s easier storage conditions should boost the EU’s rollout of the jab, which must be transported in deep-freeze temperatures.
In March, the EMA approved the vaccine’s storage at between -25 and -15 degrees Celsius for a maximum of two weeks.
Production of Pfizer’s vaccine in the EU is to step up after the bloc inked a huge deal with the company for an additional 1.8 billion doses.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement earlier this month the EU had agreed to buy 900 million doses, with the option for another 900 million between 2021 and 2023.
The deal, worth a reported $43 billion according to DPA, came after the EU was hit by a shortfall in deliveries of the Covid-19 vaccine made by AstraZeneca.
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