Wednesday, April 21, 2021

EU starts vaccinating 450 million citizens as COVID-19 deaths darken Christmas holidays

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European Union countries have started vaccinating against Covid-19 as members of the 27-nation bloc fight increasing numbers of people killed by the virus.

The coordinated deployment launched on Sunday begins less than a week after the EU released a shot developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE. Several European countries, including Germany, have imposed more severe restrictions in an attempt tocontain a winter rushin infections and deaths.

It will take months to vaccinate enough people to have an impact on the spread of the disease, but the sense of urgency has grown after neighboring Britain locked down parts of the country, blaming a strain with more spreading fast.

“Once enough people have been vaccinated, we can start traveling, reuniting with friends and family and having a normal vacation, which we all aspire to,” European Commission President Ursula von said on Saturday. der Leyen.video message.

The head of the EU’s executive arm was marking what she called “delivery day” when doses of vaccine were sent across the continent. She stressed that vaccination will be a gradual process and that caution is always required.

“We have to continue to be careful,” she said. “We must protect ourselves and our loved ones.”

Weeks behind

Europe begins the campaign to vaccinate its 450 million citizens weeks after the UK and US launched their own vaccination programs. More than 600,000 people in Britain and nearly 2 million in the United States have received their first injection of the standard two-dose regimen, according to data collected by Bloomberg.

Despite the agreed deployment date in the EU, some countries, including Germany and Hungary, have already started administering vaccines on Saturday, local media reported.

In the town of Halberstadt in eastern Germany, a 101-year-old woman and around 40 other people living in a retirement home for the elderly have been vaccinated, according to the DPA. “Each day that we wait is one too long,” said the head of the house, Tobias Krueger.

The start of the EU vaccination campaign comes amid an effort to contain the strain of mutant virus which the UK government says isspread more easily.

While this has raised concerns that the tests, treatments and injections may not be as effective, officials at BioNTech and the European medicines regulator have said they are optimistic.the vaccine will work against the new strain. The variant has appeared in countries like Germany, Japan, Australia, Singapore, and Italy.

The EU has ordered 200 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on behalf of member states, with an option to get another 100 million, and the goal is to provide access to all countries at the same time based on the size of the population. Supplies will be limited in the first few days, although another vaccine may soon help increase availability.

The deployment will take place gradually. The EU could have enough vaccines for two-thirds of its population by mid-September, three months behind the United States, according to London-based research firm Airfinity Ltd.

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