Pfizer headquarters in New York Photograph:( AFP )
The EU storage change comes at the as Pfizer seeks European regulator's approval to start vaccinating adolescents.
In order to ease vaccine rollout across Europe, the European Medicines Agency(EMA) has approved more flexible storage conditions for the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.
"Increased flexibility in the storage and handling of the vaccine is expected to have a significant impact on planning and logistics of vaccine rollout in EU member states," EMA said, adding, "this change extends the approved storage period of the unopened thawed vial at two-eight degrees Celsius (35 to 46 Fahrenheit) [i.e. in a normal fridge after taking out of deep-freeze conditions] from five days to one month (31 days),"
The move is expected to ease logistical challenges during rollouts, however, the change is applicable to only unopened vials.
German developer BioNTech said the EMA had made the decision based on new information it had supplied.
The European Union has allowed for ramped-up production of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the region and is eyeing a new deal to secure more doses.
US authorities in February had approved storage of the Pfizer shots at standard freezer temperatures of -15 to -25 degrees celsius for up to two weeks instead of the ultra-cold temperatures it required earlier
The EU storage change comes at the as Pfizer seeks European regulator's approval to start vaccinating adolescents. US and Canada have already started vaccinating them with Pfizer shots.
The US Food and Drug Administration(FDA) had earlier authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged 12-15 as President Biden noted: "This is a promising development in our fight against the virus."
The EMA added that it could also authorise the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the 12-15 age group.