The European Medicines Agency says an expert committee has recommended conditional approval for a coronavirus vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer to be used across the European Union, weeks after the shot was first granted permission under emergency provisions in Britain and the United States.
The decision Monday comes after a closed-door discussion during which EMA scientists responsible for assessing the vaccine presented their analysis to other experts and scrutinized data from companies.
The approval needs to be rubber-stamped by the European Commission and the pharmaceutical companies will need to submit follow-up data on their vaccine for the next year.
Authorities in Germany and several other European countries have said they hope to begin vaccinating people on Dec. 27.
The Cyprus health minister said the decision "fills us with optimism that it signals the beginning of the end of the pandemic," adding that the first batch of the vaccines is expected in Cyprus during the next days.