"Delays cost lives": Baltic states seek swift EU approval for AstraZeneca vaccine

The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Latvia
Andrius Sytas
·1 min read

By Andrius Sytas

VILNIUS (Reuters) - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have joined other European Union members in calling for the bloc's drugs regulator to move quickly in approving AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine.

The European Medicines Agency said last week it would review the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Britain's Oxford University this month under an accelerated timeline.

The prime ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania said they supported calls already made by by Austria, the Czech Republic, Greece and Denmark for the vaccine to be approved.

"Precision of procedures matters. But so does speed. The delays cost lives," the three Baltic state leaders each wrote on their Twitter feeds, calling for Astrazeneca and other authorities to deploy swiftly once approval was secured.

Lithuania said last week it would receive enough COVID-19 vaccines to innoculate 70% of its population by early July, a level that would achieve herd immunity and control the spread of the infection. The schedule hinges on securing enough shots.

(Reporting By Andrius Sytas; Editing by Edmund Blair)