Hi everyone, this is Jessica Murray taking over the blog for the next few hours – please do get in touch with any story ideas or personal experiences you would like to share.
Here are the key developments from the last few hours:
- EU countries could begin inoculations as soon as this year, the head of the European commission said. This followed the decision by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to bring forward its possible approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine by eight days to 21 December.
- The US Food and Drug Administration raised no new concerns over data on Moderna vaccine in documents made public on Tuesday. It prepared the way for US authorisation of a second, easier-to-handle vaccine.
- Germany, France, Italy and five other European states will coordinate the start of their Covid-19 vaccination campaigns, the countriesâ€™ health ministers said. The countries will promote â€œthe coordination of the launch of the vaccination campaignsâ€ and will rapidly share information on how it is proceeding, the statement said, along with other commitments on areas such as transparency.
- Turkey has recorded 235 more deaths â€“ its highest one-day tally since the pandemic began â€“ bringing its total death toll to 16,881. According to the health ministry, Turkey also recorded 32,102 new cases, including asymptomatic ones, in the last 24 hours. For four months, Ankara only reported daily symptomatic cases but has reported all cases since 25 November.
- The US president, Donald Trump, will â€œabsolutelyâ€ encourage Americans to take Covid-19 vaccines and will receive a vaccine himself as soon as his medical team determines itâ€™s best. The White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the Republican president also wanted to show that vulnerable Americans are the top priority to receive the vaccines.
- Germany had reportedly been pressuring EU authorities to speed up the approval of a vaccine. The chancellor Angela Merkelâ€™s office and Germanyâ€™s health ministry want the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to bring forward the approval date for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to 23 December from 29 December, the German newspaper Bild said, citing unnamed sources.
Hello, Iâ€™m taking over from Damien Gayle and will be with you for the next few hours. If youâ€™d like to draw anything to my attention, your best betâ€™s probably Twitter, where Iâ€™m KevinJRawlinson.