The European Union announced, on Wednesday, that the first citizens of the 27 countries of the bloc can be vaccinated against the Coronavirus by Christmas at the end of this year.
Europe prepares hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine
“There is a final light at the end of the tunnel,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, adding to EU lawmakers that “the first European citizens may already be vaccinated before the end of December.”
But she warned that member states must urgently set up logistical chains to deploy hundreds of millions of doses of vaccines.
“Member states must prepare now. We are talking about millions of syringes. We are talking about cold chains. We are talking about organizing vaccination centers. We are talking about trained personnel who are there. You name it,” Von der Leyen said, warning that all of this has to be done. Be ready.
However, the official urged European citizens to continue respecting the restrictions, even as the measures harm companies, further harm economies devastated by the Coronavirus, and put people in social and mental hardship.
“With nearly 3,000 deaths a day, (Covid 19) was the first cause of death in the European Union last week,” she said, adding: “Hospitals are still under pressure and in some areas are crowded with intensive care units.”
And she warned that “we must learn from the summer and not repeat the same mistakes. Excessive relaxation is a risk for the third wave after Christmas,” adding that “this Christmas will be different, and yes, it will be calmer.”
The European Union’s executive arm, the commission, has agreements with 6 potential vaccine suppliers and works on a seventh contract.
The deals allow UNHCR to purchase more than 800 million doses, more than the bloc’s population of nearly 460 million people.
On Tuesday, Brussels said that it would sign a contract for up to 160 million doses of the experimental coronavirus vaccine developed by Moderna, and the American company says it appears to be 94.5 percent effective, according to its preliminary data.