İrem UZUN -TDO- Mass vaccination programs began to be rolled out across Europe on Sunday after several countries reported cases of a more contagious variant of coronavirus. On what some have dubbed "V-Day," Germany, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain began inoculations, starting out with health workers and those most at risk of contracting the disease.
The vaccination in EU countries began as a new coronavirus variant, more contagious and more dangerous, spread internationally, adding emphasis to the World Health Organization’s warning that the current pandemic “will not be the last”. The first shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were limited to 10,000 doses in most EU countries. Each nation decides its own vaccination program, but all are vaccinating the most vulnerable first. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called it “a touching moment of unity” in a video celebrating the beginning of the rollout of the vaccine to nearly 450 million people.
While a few countries started giving doses a day early, the coordinated rollout for the 27-nation bloc was aimed at projecting a unified message that the vaccine was safe and Europe’s best chance to emerge from the pandemic and the economic devastation caused by months of lockdown. For health care workers who have been battling the virus with only masks and shields to protect themselves, the vaccines represented an emotional relief as well as a public chance to urge Europe's 450 million people to get the shots for their own health and that of others.