Europe’s plans to vaccinate against COVID-19

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Germany’s BioNTech said it was preparing to send 12.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine it has developed with U.S. 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 Dec. 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 rollout:


The Swiss will start selected vaccinations of especially vulnerable people this week. A nationwide programme starts on Jan. 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 Dec. 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 Dec. 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 Dec. 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 Dec. 24.


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 Dec. 27 or 28, and that Hungary’s first vaccine shipment will be enough to inoculate about 35,000 people.


Vaccinations are expected to begin on Dec. 28.


The Netherlands will begin inoculations on Jan. 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.

Main Photo: Pfizer coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic vaccines. EPA-EFE/ABIR SULTAN

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