Hungary leads before EU vaccine rollout


The bloc had planned a coordinated rollout on Sunday but Hungary, Germany and Slovakia began vaccinating people on Saturday.

The first person to be vaccinated at that home was Edith Kwoizalla, 101, and Mr Krueger said 40 of the home's 59 residents and 10 of the 40 workers wanted the vaccine.

The impending inoculation campaigns have boosted hopes that 2021 could bring a respite from the pandemic, which has killed more than 1.7 million people since emerging in China late past year.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis was the first to get the vaccine in the Czech Republic on Sunday morning, ahead of the distribution of 9,750 doses across the country.

The first Hungarian worker to receive the shot was Adrienne Kertesz, a doctor at Del-Pest Central Hospital.

Hungary has reported 315,362 COVID-19 cases with 8,951 deaths.

Jitters also remained over a new strain that has emerged in Britain and reached several other European countries such as France and Sweden, as well as Japan.

"We are very happy that the vaccine is here", Zsuzsa and Antal Takacs, a couple aged 68 and 75, said while playing table tennis in a Budapest park. "Vaccination is the lasting way out of the pandemic", she added. "We'll get our freedom back, we'll be able to embrace again", he said. The vaccine uses new mRNA technology and must be stored at ultra-low temperatures of around minus 80 deg C.

Hours before the first vaccine doses arrived in France, Paris' health ministry confirmed late Friday that it had detected its first case of the new variant in a citizen returned from Britain.

The French Government is hoping to get around 1 million people vaccinated in nursing homes during January and February. The French medical safety agency will monitor the vaccine rollout for any potential problems.

More than 25 million total infections have been recorded in Europe, according to an AFP tally on Friday, and Russian Federation on Saturday said it had topped three million.

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Japanese capital Tokyo reported a record 949 new daily cases while Thailand has seen a new outbreak linked to a seafood market near Bangkok infect nearly 1,500 people.

France has a total of 2,550,864 COVID-19 cases, the fifth-highest tally in the world.

A swath of European Union nations began vaccinating their most vulnerable groups on Sunday as a reputedly more contagious coronavirus variant spread internationally and the World Health Organisation warned that the current pandemic would not be the last.

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

He was speaking as other parts of Europe begin their vaccination programme against the pandemic. "This is the beginning of the end of the pandemic". Vaccinating millions of people will take time.

'First delivery will be St. Stephen's Day, first vaccinations 30th December.

Specialist nurse Zulema Riquelme, 46, a 26-year veteran at the public hospital in a poor area of the capital, was the first Chilean to receive the vaccine.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country rose by 14,455 to 1,627,103, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Saturday. It approved the vaccine on Wednesday and said it expects 168,000 doses by end of 2020.

In Portugal, a truck escorted by police dropped off the first batch of COVID-19 jabs at a warehouse in the country's central region.

Even as some European nations eye a post-Christmas return to harsh restrictions, China's communist leadership issued a statement hailing the "extremely extraordinary glory" of its handling of the virus that emerged in the country's Hubei province previous year, state news agency Xinhua reported.