“I think optimistically first quarter next year, but I can't be more precise,” Andrea Ammon, the director of the Stockholm-based European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), told AFP on Wednesday.
A European source told AFP on Tuesday that a vaccine could be authorised for use in the EU in “early 2021”, after the announcement that US pharmaceutical group Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech's vaccine had shown 90 percent effectiveness in phase three trials.
“Of course it's promising,” said Ammon, stressing that so far it is a “press release and not yet a (scientific) peer review, so we have to see what the final assessment will be”.
Ammon said the pandemic's development in Europe was “very, very concerning” and all indicators “are going in the wrong direction right now”.
Since the beginning of the outbreak, Europe has suffered at least 311,000 deaths from more than 13 million infections, and many countries have been hit by a second wave.
Ammon urged Europeans to respect their countries' restrictions and measures to curb the spread of the virus, “as hard as it may be”.