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EU health agencies to run joint studies of Covid-19 vaccines

Joint initiative billed as “platform for more permanent collaboration” for agencies

The European Medicines Agency and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, which assess treatments and diseases respectively, have teamed up to launch studies of the effects of Covid-19 vaccines.

“With the ongoing authorisation and rollout of several Covid-19 vaccines in the EU, jointly coordinated, large-scale, EU-wide effectiveness and safety studies are an essential tool to closely monitor how these novel vaccines perform in real life,” the EMA said on 27 April.

The two agencies will oversee studies in several EU member states, which are to be funded by the EU and overseen by a joint advisory board made up of EMA and ECDC members.

The EMA will take a lead on monitoring the safety of the vaccines, while the ECDC, which is responsible for monitoring infectious diseases and providing public health advice to member states, will look into their effectiveness.

EMA executive director Emer Cooke said the agencies are “ideally placed to coordinate such studies and will work closely together”.

Her counterpart at the ECDC, Andrea Ammon, said the joint work would serve as a model for the future.

“This new model of collaboration brings medicine regulators and public health authorities closer together and establishes processes towards a more permanent, sustainable collaboration platform for monitoring vaccine safety and effectiveness,” she said.