Emer Cooke’s end-of-year message

News 22/12/2021

It is exactly one year ago, on 21 December 2020, that I was able to announce EMA’s recommendation for the authorisation of the very first vaccine against COVID-19 for European citizens. This was a huge milestone in our fight against the pandemic and since then, we have made a lot of progress and have many more medical tools against COVID-19 than this time last year. 

We now have five vaccines and six treatments against coronavirus. With boosters becoming increasingly important, I am glad to say that we have already recommended booster schedules for three of the authorised vaccines. We also worked hard to support the increase of manufacturing capacity for vaccine supply in the EU, but also for distribution to other countries to fight the pandemic. Let's not forget: no one is safe until everyone is safe. 

Vaccination remains key in saving people from severe disease and from death, even in view of the emergence of the new variant. I strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated: complete your primary vaccination now, if you haven’t done it already; go and get a booster, if you are eligible.

2021 was a challenging but also rewarding year. In Europe, we have pulled together and focused on the fight against the biggest public health crisis in our lifetime. Our latest  PDF icon infographic gives an overview of the many milestones in EMA’s response to the pandemic

I am very proud of EMA’s staff and all the experts in the European medicines regulatory network. Their diverse skills and expertise, complemented by tireless work and a strong commitment to protecting public and animal health, enabled our achievements. 

I also would like to highlight the tremendous collaboration with global regulators and other international partners that continue to ensure a fast, coordinated and global response to the pandemic. Thank you all!

While we have delivered on COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics, we have also delivered in many other areas. This year we have recommended 92 medicines for human use for approval, including a first-in-class treatment for women with an aggressive form of breast cancer and the first cell-based gene therapy to treat multiple myeloma. In the veterinary area, we have recommended 12 new medicines for approval. 

We are also on target to deliver on the implementation of two major legislative tasks by the end of January 2022: the Veterinary Medicines Regulation and the Clinical Trials Information System supporting the go-live of the Clinical Trials Regulation

So, what is next? Under its extended mandate, EMA will play an even bigger role in crisis preparedness, medical devices and shortages of medicines. The pandemic will remain a challenge, but I am confident that, together, we will overcome this public health emergency. I look forward to continuing our work with partners and stakeholders to further promote public and animal health in 2022.

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