WARSAW, Poland (AP) – The European Union (EU) on Sunday officially kicked off a concerted effort to provide COVID-19 vaccines to some of the most vulnerable among nearly 450 million people, marking a moment of optimism in the continental war against poor public health. Crisis in a century.
The shot was given Sunday morning to health workers, the elderly and some leading politicians to reassure the public that the vaccines are safe.
In Prague, Czech Prime Minister Andrzej Babis received his shot at dawn, insisting “nothing to worry about.” In Rome, five doctors and nurses wearing white scrubs sat in a semi-circle at Rome’s Spolansani Infectious Diseases Hospital to get their measurements.
“Vaccination is a collective overall love and responsibility,” said Claudia Alivernini, a 29-year-old Spolansani nurse, before the first shot was fired in Italy.
Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza, speaking outside the hospital, said the EU’s release was a sign of the continent’s optimism, but that people could not reduce their security for many more months.
“We still have tough months,” he said. “This is a beautiful day, but we still need to be careful … this vaccine is the real way to close this difficult season.”
The vaccine, developed by German bioentech and American pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer, began arriving in super-cold containers at EU hospitals on Friday from a factory in Belgium. The European Union (EU) has identified the world’s earliest and hardest-hit virus hotspots, including Italy and Spain.
Other EU countries, like the Czech Republic, escaped the worst from the beginning.
Overall, at least 16 million corona virus infections and more than 336,000 deaths have been reported in 27 EU countries – experts still acknowledge the true number of cases due to missed cases and limited trials.
European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen released a video on Saturday celebrating the release of the vaccine, saying it was “a touching moment of unity”.
The campaign, especially in Germany, Britain, Canada and the United States, has been kicking their vaccination programs with the same vaccine for weeks now to reduce hatred.
Once that was done, some EU vaccines were launched a day earlier In Germany, Hungary and Slovakia. Dozens were vaccinated by a German nursing home operator on Saturday, including a 101-year-old woman who said, “Every day we wait is more than one day.”
Each country decides for itself who gets the first shots. Spain, France and Germany have pledged to give priority to the elderly and those living in nursing homes.
Polish puts doctors, nurses and others at the forefront of the fight against the virus. The Central European country mostly escaped the uprising that hit Western Europe in the spring, but this fall saw more epidemics and deaths daily.
After facing a year of difficulties in negotiating a post-Brexit trade deal with Britain, EU leaders hope to roll the dice to create a sense of solidarity with the Black Plan on a complex life-saving mission.
“This is here, good news for Christmas,” said German Health Minister Jens Spann. “This vaccine is the crucial key to ending this epidemic … it is the key to getting our lives back on track.”
Among those planning to gain exposure to the virus on Sunday were politicians who planned to receive viral footage, including Slovakian President Jusana Kaputova and Bulgarian Health Minister Kostatin Angelov.
Meanwhile, the first cases of a new virus variant spreading rapidly around London and the south of England have now been detected in France and Spain. The new variant, which British officials say spreads more easily, has led European countries, the United States and China to impose new restrictions on those coming from Britain.
German pharmaceutical company Bioendech believes its corona virus vaccine works against the New England variant, but said more research is needed to be more convinced.
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