European Union nations on Sunday kicked off the Covid-19 vaccination drive to some of the most vulnerable people among the population of 450 million.
With the start of the vaccination drive, shots were administered to health care workers, the elderly, and some leading politicians to reassure the public that the vaccinations are safe.
Andrej Babis Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, on Sunday after receiving a shot said that there was nothing to worry about. In Rome, five doctors and nurses wearing white scrubs sat in a semi-circle at Rome’s Spallanzani infectious diseases hospital to receive their doses.
“Getting vaccinated is an act of love and responsibility toward the collective whole,” Claudia Alivernini, a 29-year-old Spallanzani nurse told the media on the eve of being the first to receive the shot in Italy.
Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza, speaking outside the hospital, said that people still cannot let down their guard for several months more, the coordinated EU rollout was a sign of hope for the continent.
“We still have difficult months ahead,” he said. “It’s a beautiful day, but we still need to exercise caution … this vaccine is the true path to close out this difficult season.”
The vaccines which are developed by Germany’s BioNTech and American drugmaker Pfizer started arriving in super-cold containers at EU hospitals on Friday from a factory in Belgium.
Other EU countries, like the Czech Republic, were spared the worst early on only to see their health care systems near collapse in the fall.
In total, 27 EU nations have recorded at least 16 million coronavirus cases and more than 3,36,000 deaths according to estimates by the health authorities.
Claiming the vaccination drive as a touching moment of unity, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen released a video Saturday celebrating the vaccine rollout.
As the mass vaccination programme has started in the EU, cases of new virus variant that has been spreading rapidly around London and southern England have now been detected in France and Spain.
The new variant of the virus, which according to the British authorities can be easily transmitted has led to putting new restrictions on travel for people from Britain to the European countries, the United States, and China.
Meanwhile, the German pharmaceutical company BioNTech is positive that its Covid-19 vaccine will work against the new UK variant.
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