WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Hungarian doctors and health workers on Saturday began vaccinating the continent with the first Pfizer-bioentech corona virus vaccine, which upset the EU’s plans to coordinate first screenings in 27 countries. Sunday camp.
After being shipped from a manufacturing facility in Belgium before Christmas, the first shipment of the vaccine arrived in super-cold containers on Friday afternoon and early Saturday morning to hospitals across the EU.
It is not immediately clear why Hungarian authorities started vaccinating a day earlier. Authorities in Slovakia announced plans to dispense the drugs from Saturday evening.
European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen released a video celebrating the release of the vaccine, saying it was “a touching moment of unity”.
“Today, we are starting to turn the page in a difficult year. The COVID-19 vaccine has been given to all EU countries. Vaccination will begin tomorrow across the European Union, ”he said.
The release marks a moment of optimism for a region that includes the world’s earliest and worst-affected virus hotspots, such as Italy and Spain and the Czech Republic. The place to break in the fall.
In all, at least 16 million corona virus infections and more than 336,000 deaths have been reported in 27 EU countries. After facing a year of difficulties in negotiating a post-Brexit trade agreement with Britain, the release of the vaccine will help give a sense of solidarity in a complex life-saving task. It leaves a sigh of relief for EU politicians frustrated after Britain, Canada and the United States launched vaccination programs earlier this month.
“It’s here, good news for Christmas,” German Health Minister Jens Spann told a news conference on Saturday. “This vaccine is the crucial key to ending this epidemic.”
“This is the key to getting our lives back on track,” Span said.
However, the first export is less than 10,000 in most countries, and mass vaccination programs are expected to begin only in January. Each country decides for itself who gets the first shots – but they are all very vulnerable.
In Hungary, the first ship 9,750 doses – enough to vaccinate 4,875 people, requiring two doses per person – arrived by truck early Saturday morning and was taken to Southern Insect Central Hospital in Budapest. The government said the other four hospitals, two in Budapest and two in the eastern cities of Debrecen and Nyregihasa, would receive vaccines from the initial ship.
French officials say they are prioritizing the elderly based on the virus’ lethal impact on the elderly among previous viral infections in France. The French Medical Care Agency will monitor any possible complications.
Germany, where more than 30,000 lives have been affected by the epidemic, will start with people over the age of 80 and those caring for vulnerable groups.
Spanish officials say the first batch of vaccines have arrived in the central city of Guadalajara – the first shots will be administered at a nursing home on Sunday morning.
In Italy, which has the worst virus death toll in Europe at more than 71,000, a nurse at Rome in the capital’s convenient Spallonzani hospital for major infections will be the first in the vaccinated country, followed by other health workers.
In Poland, the first two people will be vaccinated on Sunday, followed by a nurse and a doctor at the Interior Ministry Hospital in Warsaw, the capital’s main coronavirus hospital, followed by medical staff at dozens of other hospitals.
Polish Prime Minister Matteo Moraveki called the vaccination a “patriotic duty of the poles” – a message to a community born out of general distrust of the authorities and a high level of vaccine reluctance.
In Bulgaria, where vaccine reluctance is running high, the first person to receive the shot was Health Minister Kostadin Angelov, who has pledged an aggression campaign to improve the benefits of the shots.
In Croatia, 9,750 vaccines arrived early Saturday morning, and a resident of a nursing home in the capital, Zagreb, will receive the first vaccination Sunday morning, state HRD television reported. Authorities also planned to involve celebrities and other members of the public in the pro-vaccination campaign.
“We have been waiting for this for a year now,” Romanian Prime Minister Florin said on Saturday, after the first batch of vaccines arrived at a military-run storage facility there.
Vaccinations are starting as the first cases of a new variant of the virus spreading in the UK 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.
A French man living in the UK came to France on December 19 and tested positive for the new variant on Friday, the French Public Health Agency said. He has no symptoms and is being isolated at his home in the central city of Tours.
Meanwhile, health officials in the Madrid region have confirmed the UK variant in four, all of whom are in good health. Enrique Ruiz Escudero, regional health chief, said the new strain had arrived when the victim flew into Madrid’s airport.
German pharmaceutical company Bioendech is optimistic Its corona virus vaccine works against the New England variant, but further studies should be absolutely conclusive.
Associated Press writers include Lorne Cook in Brussels, David McHugh in Frankfurt, Germany, Angela Charlton in Barcelona, Joseph Wilson in Barcelona, Francis de Emilio in Rome, Joanna Kekhov in Serbia, Palkavil in Ferdinand, Serbia. For this report.