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Europe's drug regulator, the European Medicines Agency, said Thursday it is reviewing four additional COVID-19 vaccines and could issue new authorizations before the end of the year.
During a news briefing from the agency's headquarters in Amsterdam, EMA officials said they are awaiting additional data on Russia's Sputnik V vaccine and China's Sinovac Biotech vaccine before the regulator can move forward with reviews of their drugs.
Meanwhile, EMA vaccine strategy chief Marco Cavaleri said the agency has received clinical data from German biotech firm CureVac and U.S. drug maker Novavax, which they will be assessing in coming weeks. He added that the EMA would continue to review data on German biotech firm CureVac's shot over the next few weeks before a conclusion can be drawn.
Cavaleri said the EMA was expecting to soon receive data from drugmakers on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines on children younger than 12. He noted that the United States has seen "a massive increase of hospitalizations due to the delta variant, which affects mainly adolescents, which are not vaccinated."
He said the EMA expects to be reviewing data regarding the use of existing vaccines on children ages 5 to 11 in the next few months. Likewise, he said the agency is evaluating data on a booster dose for Pfizer/BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine to be given six months after the second dose in people 16 years and older.
He said other manufacturers would soon submit applications on booster shots, as well.
Last week, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said there was no urgent need for booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the fully vaccinated.