Sunday is the big day in the EU: vaccinations against the coronavirus should then start everywhere. The cans ordered have already been delivered – some with a police escort. Hungary administered the first vaccinations on Saturday afternoon.
The vaccination start in the EU is actually only on Sunday, but Hungary – like Germany meanwhile – has rushed ahead and has already vaccinated the first doctors and nurses. “We started vaccinations among health care workers according to a pre-established schedule,” said a government spokesman when asked by Reuters. A senior doctor at a Budapest hospital was the first to receive the injection.
Adrienne Kertesz told the state television station after her vaccination that she had waited a long time for this moment. Now it is possible for her to continue working safely. As head of the Infection Control Department, Kertesz mainly deals with Covid-19 patients.
A first delivery of almost 10,000 doses of the vaccine had arrived in Hungary early Saturday morning. The load was distributed to several large hospitals in the country: two are in Budapest and one each in Debrecen and Nyiregyhaza.
Slovakia also announced on Saturday evening that it had started the first vaccinations. Most other states want to start on Sunday as planned.
Tens of thousands of cans in the EU
The vaccine should be available in all 27 EU countries at the same time. In Italy, the first doses of the preparation reached their destination in Rome under military escort. The Ministry of Defense confirmed that the transporter arrived in a Carabinieri barracks in the north of the capital on Friday evening. The first vaccination doses were also delivered in Austria; they came into the country from Belgium via Germany. The approximately 10,000 cans were brought to a warehouse in Vienna from the border crossing in Suben in Upper Austria under police escort, the authorities said. The vaccine has now also reached Greece, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland.
Hope for more normalcy
“And people start vaccinating in Athens, Rome, Helsinki, Sofia, wherever,” said EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. The European Immunization Days are a moving moment of unity and a European success story. More vaccines would be available soon. “Let’s make 2021 our year of European recovery and hope.”
At the same time, von der Leyen made hope for more normality in the coming year. “The vaccinations will help us gradually return to our normal lives,” she said in a video posted on Twitter. As soon as enough people have been vaccinated, one can start traveling again, meet friends and family and spend the holidays normally. “But until then we have to be careful.”