European Union already runs its vaccination program against covid-19

(CNN) — The European Union (EU) began the first phase of its mass vaccination program on Sunday, with doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine delivered to all 27 member states.

The trading bloc faces a significant logistical challenge as vaccines roll out while a new variant of covid-19 spreads through several countries.

“Today we are starting to turn the page in a difficult year,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Twitter on Saturday.

“The vaccine [Covid-19] it has been handed over to all EU countries, “he said, adding that the execution would begin on Sunday.

The Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine was authorized by the EU on December 21, amid a winter surge in cases.

The vaccine, which consists of two doses, should be stored at ultra-low temperatures.

Some EU countries started their vaccinations a day earlier, with doses administered in Slovakia and Germany on Saturday.

Vaccinations began Sunday in Italy, Spain and France, with a focus on front-line healthcare workers, nursing home residents and the elderly.

In Spain, the first person to receive a dose of the vaccine was a 96-year-old resident of a nursing home. The second was a staff member from the same household.

Italy has received 9,750 doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine. The first five people to receive it Sunday were front-line medical and research workers.

“We have acted in unity throughout this pandemic. Today we begin to turn the page in this chapter, together, “said the European Commission on Twitter.

The European Medicines Agency continues its ongoing review of other promising candidate vaccines, including those from AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, as well as Johnson & Johnson.