EU member countries including Germany, France, Austria and Italy plan to start vaccinations from December 27 as Europe tries to catch up with the United States and Britain.
GERMANY’S BioNTech said it was preparing to send 12.5 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine it has developed with US drugs giant Pfizer to European Union countries by the end of the year.
EU member countries including Germany, France, Austria and Italy plan to start vaccinations from December 27 as Europe tries to catch up with the United States and Britain, where inoculations began earlier this month.
The vaccine won regulatory clearance from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Monday.
The regulator in Switzerland, which is not an EU member, had approved the vaccine at the weekend.
Following are plans for the European roll-out:
The Swiss will start selected vaccinations of especially vulnerable people this week. A nationwide programme starts on January 4, with the goal of providing a free inoculation to everyone who wants one by mid-2021.
An initial 150,000 or so doses are due to be delivered on December 26 to allow authorities to start the first vaccinations in elderly care homes the following day, with further doses due later in the week.
On December 26, 9,750 doses of the Pfizer vaccine will leave Belgium bound for the Spallanzani hospital in Rome with vaccinations set to begin on Sunday.
Subsequent Pfizer doses will be delivered directly to 300 administration sites across Italy.
France plans to start its vaccination programme on December 27, prioritising the most vulnerable members of the population, such as the elderly.
In France, formal approval is needed from the French medical regulator, which will give a decision on December 24.
AUSTRIA / SPAIN / BULGARIA
Austria, Spain and Bulgaria have announced plans to start to vaccinate citizens two days after Christmas.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said he expects vaccinations to start on December 27 or 28, and that Hungary’s first vaccine shipment will be enough to inoculate about 35,000 people.
BELGIUM / LUXEMBOURG
Vaccinations are expected to begin on December 28.
The Netherlands will begin inoculations on January 8, health minister Hugo de Jonge said last week.
“We have opted for a planning that is careful, safe and responsible,” De Jonge said in a letter to parliament.