Vaccination booths in the Festhalle auditorium hall at the Frankfurt Messe exhibition grounds in Frankfurt, Germany.(Bloomberg Photo)
Vaccination booths in the Festhalle auditorium hall at the Frankfurt Messe exhibition grounds in Frankfurt, Germany.(Bloomberg Photo)

European Union nations kick off mass Covid-19 vaccinations

Altogether, the EU’s 27 nations have recorded at least 16 million coronavirus infections and more than 336,000 deaths — huge numbers that experts still agree understate the true toll of the pandemic due to missed cases and limited testing.
By Associated Press| Posted by: Harshit Sabarwal | Warsaw
PUBLISHED ON DEC 27, 2020 02:04 PM IST

European Union nations officially kicked off a coordinated effort Sunday to give Covid-19 vaccinations to some of the most vulnerable among their nearly 450 million people, marking a moment of hope in the continent’s battle against the worst public health crisis in a century.

Shots were administered Sunday morning to health care workers, the elderly and some leading politicians to reassure the public that the vaccinations are safe.

In Prague, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis received his shot at dawn and asserted: “There’s nothing to worry about.” In Rome, five doctors and nurses wearing white scrubs sat in a semi-circle at Rome’s Spallanzani infectious diseases hospital to receive their doses.

“Getting vaccinated is an act of love and responsibility toward the collective whole,” Claudia Alivernini, a 29-year-old Spallanzani nurse, said on the eve of being the first to receive the shot in Italy, which has Europe’s worth virus toll at more than 71,000 dead.

Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza, speaking outside the hospital, said the coordinated EU rollout was a sign of hope for the continent, but that people still cannot let down their guard for several months more.

“We still have difficult months ahead,” he said. “It’s a beautiful day, but we still need to exercise caution ... this vaccine is the true path to close out this difficult season.”

The vaccines, developed by Germany’s BioNTech and American drugmaker Pfizer, started arriving in super-cold containers at EU hospitals on Friday from a factory in Belgium. The EU has seen some of the world’s earliest and hardest-hit virus hot spots, including Italy and Spain.

Others EU countries, like the Czech Republic, were spared the worst early on only to see their health care systems near collapse in the fall.

Altogether, the EU’s 27 nations have recorded at least 16 million coronavirus infections and more than 336,000 deaths — huge numbers that experts still agree understate the true toll of the pandemic due to missed cases and limited testing.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen released a video Saturday celebrating the vaccine rollout, calling it “a touching moment of unity.”

The campaign should ease frustrations that were building up, especially in Germany, as Britain, Canada and the United States kicked off their inoculation programs with the same vaccine weeks earlier.

As it turned out, some EU immunizations began a day early in Germany, Hungary and Slovakia. The operator of a German nursing home where dozens of people were vaccinated Saturday, including a 101-year-old woman, said “every day that we wait is one day too many.”

Each country is deciding on its own who will get the first shots. Spain, France and Germany, among others, are vowing to put the elderly and residents in nursing homes first.

Poland is also prioritizing doctors, nurses and others on the front lines of fighting the virus. The central European nation was largely spared the surge that hit Western Europe in the spring, but has seen high daily infections and deaths this fall.

EU leaders are counting on the vaccine rollout to help the bloc project a sense of unity in a complex lifesaving mission after it faced a year of difficulties in negotiating a post-Brexit trade deal with Britain.

“It’s here, the good news at Christmas,” said German Health Minister Jens Spahn. “This vaccine is the decisive key to end this pandemic ... it is the key to getting our lives back.”

Among politicians who plan to get virus shots on Sunday, as a way of promoting a wider acceptance of vaccinations, are Slovakian President Zuzana Caputova and Bulgarian Health Minister Kostadin Angelov.

Meanwhile, the first cases of a new virus variant that has been spreading rapidly around London and southern England have now been detected in France and Spain. The new variant, which British authorities said is much more easily transmitted, has caused European countries, the United States and China to put new restrictions on travel for people from Britain.

The German pharmaceutical company BioNTech is confident that its coronavirus vaccine works against the new U.K. variant, but said further studies are needed to be completely certain.

The European Medicines Agency on Jan. 6 will be considering approving a second coronavirus vaccine, this one by Moderna, which has already been approved for use in the United States.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Police stand guard after holding off rioters who tried to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021. (AP Photo )
Police stand guard after holding off rioters who tried to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021. (AP Photo )

Donald Trump State Department aide charged with assault at US Capitol

AP
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 09:58 PM IST
At least five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died as a result of the violence, and two other officers killed themselves after. More than 300 people have been charged with federal crimes.
Close
Meghan and Harry have taken legal action against a number of publications, alleging invasion of privacy.(Reuters File Photo )
Meghan and Harry have taken legal action against a number of publications, alleging invasion of privacy.(Reuters File Photo )

Judge tells UK paper to print front-page notice on Meghan Markle legal win

AFP
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 09:54 PM IST
In his written ruling, the judge said the front- and third-page statements about Meghan Markle's successful copyright claim would have "genuine utility".
Close
As much as 75 per cent of Nasdaq companies do not have at least one woman and one under-represented minority or LGBT member on the board, the report says.(Pixabay | Representational image)
As much as 75 per cent of Nasdaq companies do not have at least one woman and one under-represented minority or LGBT member on the board, the report says.(Pixabay | Representational image)

Gender inequality has cost world USD 70 trillion since 1990, finds report

PTI, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 09:47 PM IST
The report also notes that full gender equality globally can increase the world GDP by up to USD 28 trillion by 2025.
Close
The new variant, which is understood to have originated in the UK, has been designated as a variant under investigation (VUI).(AP)
The new variant, which is understood to have originated in the UK, has been designated as a variant under investigation (VUI).(AP)

Scientists add another new coronavirus variant to UK watchlist after 16 cases

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Kunal Gaurav, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 09:45 PM IST
  • The coronavirus variant B.1.1.7 is currently the dominant variant in the UK and was suspected behind the renewed surge in Covid-19 cases in the country.
Close
Clubhouse, an invitation-only audio chat app launched less than a year ago, has caught the attention of tech industry bigshots.(AP)
Clubhouse, an invitation-only audio chat app launched less than a year ago, has caught the attention of tech industry bigshots.(AP)

ByteDance developing Clubhouse-like app for China amid copycat rush: Report

Posted by Kunal Gaurav | Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 09:38 PM IST
  • Clubhouse had seen a surge in users who participated in discussions on sensitive topics such as Xinjiang detention camps and Hong Kong independence.
Close
Chinese President Xi Jinping and other leaders attend the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 5, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins(REUTERS)
Chinese President Xi Jinping and other leaders attend the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 5, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins(REUTERS)

China to build important 'passageway' to South Asia through Tibet: Report

PTI, Beijing
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 08:53 PM IST
China will support Tibet in building the passageway to South Asia, state-run Xinhua news agency reported, quoting the 14th Plan document which was submitted to the National People’s Congress, (NPC), China’s Parliament.
Close
“Trump lied to his followers, telling them that the certification of Joe Biden’s election was a ‘coup’ and that their country was being stolen from them,” Swalwell said in the lawsuit.(AFP)
“Trump lied to his followers, telling them that the certification of Joe Biden’s election was a ‘coup’ and that their country was being stolen from them,” Swalwell said in the lawsuit.(AFP)

Donald Trump sued by House impeachment manager over incitement of Capitol riot

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 08:49 PM IST
Representative Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat, filed the suit in federal court Friday. It’s the latest sign of legal peril for Trump over his role in the January 6 riot, even after he won acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial last month.
Close
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has called for a more focused state of emergency than that which devastated the economy last spring.(REUTERS)
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has called for a more focused state of emergency than that which devastated the economy last spring.(REUTERS)

Japan extends Covid-19 emergency in Tokyo, PM Suga apologises

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 08:45 PM IST
The state of emergency had been set to end on March 7. But 4-1/2 months before Tokyo is due to host the Olympic Games, Suga said there was a need for caution because of the threat from new coronavirus variants and the possibility of cases rising again.
Close
TOPSHOT - An estuarine crocodile is seen at a mangrove forest of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve in Singapore on February 2, 2021. (Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP)(AFP)
TOPSHOT - An estuarine crocodile is seen at a mangrove forest of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve in Singapore on February 2, 2021. (Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP)(AFP)

Crocodile hunt: Search on for unknown number of escaped reptiles in South Africa

Posted by Kunal Gaurav | AP, Cape Town
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 08:34 PM IST
  • Police and Cape Nature officers are concentrating on an area as far as five kilometres upstream and five kilometres downstream of the escape point.
Close
Covid-19 patients lie on beds at a field hospital built inside a sports coliseum in Santo Andre, on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday,(AP)
Covid-19 patients lie on beds at a field hospital built inside a sports coliseum in Santo Andre, on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday,(AP)

World's worst Covid crisis is unfolding in Brazil, where no fix seems to work

Posted by Kunal Gaurav | Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 07:36 PM IST
This week, as Brazil reported back-to-back record deaths from the virus, Bolsonaro welcomed allies for a lunch in Brasilia.
Close
A poster of the initiative committee against wearing the burqa reading "Stop extremism! Veil ban - Yes" is seen in Zurich Switzerland.(REUTERS)
A poster of the initiative committee against wearing the burqa reading "Stop extremism! Veil ban - Yes" is seen in Zurich Switzerland.(REUTERS)

Swiss mull 'burqa ban' in vote centering on security, rights

Posted by Kunal Gaurav | AP, Geneva
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 07:22 PM IST
  • In the past, Swiss voters have approved a ban on the construction of minarets in the Alpine country whose flag carries the cross.
Close
This is the first refusal to vaccine export after the EU introduced the vaccination supply measures overseas on January 29.(Reuters)
This is the first refusal to vaccine export after the EU introduced the vaccination supply measures overseas on January 29.(Reuters)

Italy is first to block Covid-19 vaccine export. All you need to know

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Deepali Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 05, 2021 07:23 PM IST
The refusal was possible because of the vaccine export control measure taken by the European Union earlier this year.
Close
Prince Philip’s illness is not believed to be related to the coronavirus.(AFP)
Prince Philip’s illness is not believed to be related to the coronavirus.(AFP)

UK's Prince Philip transferred back to private hospital

Posted by Kunal Gaurav | AP, London
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 07:02 PM IST
  • Philip was admitted to the private London hospital on February 16, where he was treated for an infection.
Close
Naureen Hassan holds a Masters of Business Administration from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.(Twitter / @NewYorkFed)
Naureen Hassan holds a Masters of Business Administration from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.(Twitter / @NewYorkFed)

Indian American Naureen Hassan named first VP, COO of New York Fed

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Kunal Gaurav, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 06:58 PM IST
  • The appointment, effective March 15, was approved by the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System.
Close
US President Joe Biden gestures as he speaks during a call to congratulate the Nasa JPL Perseverance team on the successful Mars landing, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC on March 4, 2021. (AFP)(HT_PRINT)
US President Joe Biden gestures as he speaks during a call to congratulate the Nasa JPL Perseverance team on the successful Mars landing, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC on March 4, 2021. (AFP)(HT_PRINT)

Debate to begin in US Senate on Prez Biden's $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill

Posted by Harshit Sabarwal | Reuters, Washington
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 06:42 PM IST
The Senate voted on Thursday to take up the bill in a party-line 51-50 vote, with Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie. But Republicans delayed the start of the debate by forcing the hours-long reading of the full text of the 628-page measure.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP