Europe prepares for mass Covid-19 vaccination programs

Madrid Desk, Dec 7 (efe-epa).- Countries in Europe are preparing to start the process of mass Covid-19 vaccination, which experts believe could mean the beginning of the end of the pandemic that has been devastating the continent for months.

Although January seems to be the month in which most countries will have vials of some antidote against the coronavirus, the United Kingdom will this week be the first in the West to try to immunize its population with the vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech.

The UK, along with Italy, France, Spain, the Czech Republic, Germany and Belgium, are among the most affected by Covid-19, a disease that to date has caused more than 1.5 million deaths around the world and 67 million infections, according to Johns Hopkins University.

They will also have to overcome the logistical challenges of delivering and administering the vaccines from manufacturing centers.

Belgium has announced that it will be ready to start its vaccination campaign on January 5, and plans to first vaccinate health and care workers, such as nursing home staff, followed by those over 65, in age brackets and starting with the oldest. Vaccines will be voluntary and free of charge.

Its neighbor, the Netherlands, expects to begin its own process on January 4, although several local health organizations have said that that schedule is “premature”. In the first quarter, 1.6 million Dutch people from the most vulnerable groups will be vaccinated.

France, which has suffered from a strong second wave of the pandemic, is entitled to 15 percent of the vaccine purchases made jointly by the European Union; it will have 200 million doses, which will enable it to vaccinate 100 million people, higher than the 67 million French registered citizens.

The government, like those in most European countries, has said that the vaccine will be free and estimates that the campaign, which will begin at the end of this month, will cost the state 1.5 billion euros.

In Portugal, the first phase will affect 950,000 of the 10 million inhabitants in January, as well as people over 50 with high-risk pathologies, users and staff of residences, frontline health workers and other workers in critical services.

In Spain, although the vaccination campaign will also start in January but will be carried out over three phases lasting months. It will be voluntary and free among a population with a high percentage of citizens who, according to surveys, appear reluctant to take the vaccine.

Related Articles

Back to top button