By Jack Denton
The European Union has approved a COVID-19 vaccine, moving to roll out jabs within days as Europe battles a new, more infectious strain of the coronavirus on the continent.
Markets across Europe /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP +0.05% /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.93% /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX +0.29% /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 +0.35% recovered some ground on Tuesday morning after heavy losses on Monday spurred on by fears over the new strain.
The European Medicines Agency approved the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer /zigman2/quotes/202877789/composite PFE +2.63% and BioNTech /zigman2/quotes/214419716/composite BNTX -7.36% on Monday evening, setting Dec. 27 as the day to begin jabs.
BioNTech, a German company, said that 12.5 million doses of the vaccine will be supplied to the bloc of 27 states by the end of the year.
The vaccine approval comes as Europe battles a strain of coronavirus that is said to be 70% more contagious. Its role in a surge of British cases was first announced on Saturday evening and has prompted many new travel restrictions in Europe.
The strain has so far been found in cases in the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, and Gibraltar.
More than 40 countries have banned arrivals from the U.K., with the French border at Dover—a linchpin of European trade—closed until Wednesday morning. Grocers have said that there will be shortages of goods including lettuce, some salad leaves, cauliflowers, broccoli, and citrus fruit if the blockade persists.
More than 1,500 trucks bound for France are stuck at Dover, as Toyota /zigman2/quotes/200537742/composite TM -0.25% said it would close factories ahead of Christmas in the U.K. and France over expected parts shortages.
A decision from the EU on a coordinated response to the new strain is expected late Monday. Sweden has banned entry from Denmark as the U.K. remains the most cut off nation, with British and French officials now negotiating how to resume trade safely after the border re-opens.