Information on vaccine development and registration
Last update 29.04.2021
In order to be used in the European Union, a vaccine must meet the same standards of proof of safety, quality, and effectiveness as any other medicine. No exceptions from these essential requirements are made. More than 200 vaccines against the Covid-19 virus are currently being developed worldwide.
Vaccines contain substances, or agents, that stimulate the body’s immunity. There are different types of vaccines. Some vaccines contain weakened or killed versions of certain viruses, bacteria, or their parts. Other vaccines contain a messenger (meaning that it merely holds information about the virus and is not the virus itself, so it cannot cause the disease or make it worse if you already have it). When a person is given the vaccine, the body’s immune system makes antibodies. When a person is exposed to the real infectious virus or bacteria, their immune system remembers it and activates the specific antibodies that it had made before, thus killing the virus or bacteria and not getting sick.
Currently, the first four Covid-19 vaccines have been registered in the European Union: The Comirnaty vaccine manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, a vaccine manufactured by Moderna, Covid-19 Vaccine Janssen, and a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.
Vaccine quality, safety, and effectiveness is evaluated by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). If the vaccine meets all the requirements of the EMA, the agency recommends it to be registered and the European Commission issues a marketing authorisation that is valid in all EU and EEA countries. Consequently, the vaccine can be delivered to all EU countries at once, including Latvia. This process guarantees that all European Union countries, including Latvia, receive high-quality, safe, and effective vaccines against Covid-19 at the same time.
The process of developing and registering these vaccines has been faster than for other vaccines, due to the investment and pooling of unprecedented scientific, financial, and human resources, as well as a radical change in the efficiency of cooperation between vaccine registration authorities and vaccine developers.
Information prepared by the European Commission “Safe Covid-19 vaccines for Europeans”
VIDEO: Dace Zavadska, infectious diseases specialist and Head of the National Immunisation Council, on the specific vaccines