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Photo: JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images

The European Commission on Monday granted market authorization to Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, hours after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended approval.

Why it matters: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that vaccinations will begin in the EU's 27 countries on Dec. 27, 28 and 29. The vaccine has been found to be 95% effective with no serious side effects.

Between the lines: The EMA said there is no evidence to suggest that the vaccine will not be effective against the new coronavirus variant found in the U.K..

The big picture: The U.S. and U.K. have both already begun to roll out the vaccine, after it was approved by regulators in the respective countries earlier this month.

  • Those authorizations put pressure on the EU to move faster, after the bureaucratic bloc was criticized for acting slowly as thousands of people died of COVID-19 each day.
  • The EMA subsequently pushed its date forward for making the decision, moving it to Monday from Dec. 29.
  • The agency will make a decision on Moderna's vaccine on Jan. 6.

This story has been updated with the European Commission's market authorization.

Go deeper

Jan 21, 2021 - World

World leaders react to "new dawn in America" under Biden administration

President Biden reacts delivers his inaugural address on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

World leaders have pledged to work with President Biden on issues including the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, with many praising his move to begin the formal process for the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement.

The big picture: Several leaders noted the swift shift from former President Trump's "America First" policy to Biden's action to re-engage with the world and rebuild alliances.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.