European Union launches mass vaccination program


The European Union (EU) launched the first phase of its mass vaccination program on Sunday, with doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine delivered to the 27 member states.

The trade bloc faces a major logistical challenge as vaccines are rolled out as a new variant of Covid-19 spreads to several countries.

“Today we are starting to turn the page on a difficult year,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Twitter on Saturday.

” The [Covid-19] the vaccine has been delivered to all EU countries, ”she said, adding that the rollout would start on Sunday.

The Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine was cleared by the EU on December 21, amid a winter flare of cases.

The vaccine, consisting of two doses, should be stored at extremely low temperatures.

Some EU countries started their vaccinations a day earlier, with doses being administered in Slovakia and Germany on Saturday.

Vaccinations began in Italy, Spain and France on Sunday, with a focus on frontline health workers, nursing home residents and the elderly.

In Spain, the first person to receive a dose of the vaccine was a 96-year-old resident in a nursing home. The second was a staff member from the same house.

Italy has received 9,750 doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine. The first five people to receive it on Sunday were frontline doctors and researchers.

“We have acted in unity throughout this pandemic. Today we are starting to turn the page of this chapter, together ”, The European Commission said on Twitter.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is continuing its ongoing review of other promising vaccine candidates, including those from AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, and Johnson & Johnson.


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