BERLIN, 27th December, 2020 (WAM/Reuters) — Europe launched a cross-border vaccination programme of unprecedented scale on Sunday as part of efforts to end a COVID-19 pandemic that has crippled economies and claimed more than 1.7 million lives around the world.
The region of 450 million people has secured contracts with a range of suppliers for over two billion vaccine doses and has set a goal for all adults to be inoculated during 2021.
Countries including France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Portugal and Spain are planning to begin mass vaccinations, starting with health workers on Sunday. Outside the EU, Britain, Switzerland and Serbia have already started in recent weeks.
The distribution of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot presents tough challenges, according to Reuters, as the vaccine uses new mRNA technology and must be stored at ultra-low temperatures of around -80 degrees Celsius (-112 F).