The European Union launched the first phase of a mass vaccination program on Sunday, distributing the dose of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to all 27 member states.
With the promotion of the new Covid-19 variant vaccine in many countries, the vaccine is facing major logistics challenges.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Twitter on Saturday: “Today, we are starting to turn a page in a difficult year.”
Due to the surge in winter cases, the European Union approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on December 21.
The vaccine consists of two doses and needs to be stored at ultra-low temperature.
Some EU countries/regions start vaccination a day earlier, and start vaccination in Slovakia and Germany on Saturday.
On Sunday, vaccination began in Italy, Spain and France, focusing on frontline health care workers, nursing home residents and the elderly.
In Spain, the first person to receive the vaccine was a 96-year-old resident in a nursing home. The second person is a staff member of the same house.
Italy has received 9,750 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The top five on Sunday were first-line medical and researchers.
The European Commission said on Twitter: “We are united throughout the pandemic. Today, we are starting to open this chapter together.”
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is still continuing its rolling review of other promising vaccine candidates, including vaccine candidates from AstraZeneca and Oxford University and Johnson & Johnson.