Covi-19 vaccine shipments arrive across EU before rollout

Covi-19 vaccine shipments arrive across EU before rollout
Medical staff receive part of a Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine shipment at the UZ Leuven hospital in Leuven, Belgium, Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020. Belgium is preparing to begin its Covid-19 vaccination program, with first vaccinations beginning on Monday. (Nicolas Maeterlinck, Pool via AP)
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Daily US Times: The first Covid-19 vaccine shipments have arrived across the European Union as authorities prepared to roll out the first shots to the most vulnerable people in a coordinated effort on Sunday.

The vaccines developed by Pfizer and BioNTech arrived by truck in warehouses across Europe on Friday and early Saturday after being sent from a manufacturing center in Belgium before Christmas.

The massive Covid-19 vaccine shipments mark a moment of hope for a continent that includes some of the world’s earliest and worst-hit virus hot spots, including Spain, Italy and others, like the Czech Republic, that were spared the worst early on only to see their health care systems near their breaking points in the fall.

Altogether, the EU member states have seen more than 336,000 deaths and at least 16 million cases of the coronavirus.

At a news conference on Saturday, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said: “It’s here, the good news at Christmas.”

“At this moment, trucks are underway across Europe, across Germany and its regions, to deliver the first vaccine. More deliveries will follow the day after tomorrow. This vaccine is the decisive key to end this pandemic,” he added.

The massive vaccination program is the result of coordination on the part of all 27 member states of the EU, helping the bloc to also project a sense of unity in a lifesaving mission of logistical complexity after difficulties in negotiating a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK.

However, the first doses are limited just under 10,000 doses in most countries, with the mass vaccination programs expected to begin only in January.

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