Europe launches mass vaccination program as countries race to contain new variant
Yesterday, the European Union began its Covid-19 vaccination program after approving the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine on December 21. The vaccine has now been delivered to all EU countries, according to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen. December 27, 28, and 29 have been declared EU vaccination days, although the approved vaccine requires two doses, two weeks apart. The rush to vaccinate was likely brought on by a mutated variant of the virus found in Britain. The mutated strain proved to be more infectious, causing widespread panic and border closures in Europe.
The first people to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in the EU were frontline medical workers and the elderly. Italy, formerly the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic, also administered its first vaccine doses yesterday. Doctors and nurses were among the first to receive the medication. One of the first medical professionals was Professor Maria Rosaria Capobianchi, a virologist and member of the team that first isolated the virus in Italy. Another industry professional who received the vaccine worked at the institute when Italy’s first Covid-19 patients were hospitalized.