European Union begins Covid-19 vaccinations after clearing Pfizer shot

Covid-19 vaccines at the military airport of Pratica di Mare in Rome Photo:AP/PTI
European Union countries began vaccinating against Covid-19 as members of the 27-nation bloc struggle with a rising number of people killed by the virus.

The coordinated rollout launched on Sunday is getting underway less than a week after the EU cleared a shot developed by Pfizer and BioNTech SE. Several European countries, including Germany, have imposed tougher restrictions in an effort to contain a winter surge in infections and deaths.

It will take months to inoculate enough people to have an impact on the spread of the disease, but the sense of urgency has grown after neighboring Britain locked down parts of the country, blaming a faster-spreading strain.

“Once enough people have been vaccinated, we can start traveling, meeting our friends and family again and have normal holidays, which we all long for,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Saturday in a video message.

The head of the EU’s executive arm was marking what she called “Delivery Day,” when doses of the vaccine were sent out across the continent. She emphasised that immunisation will be a gradual process and caution is still needed.

“We have to continue being careful,” she said. “We have to protect ourselves and our loved ones.”

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