Europe starts coronavirus vaccine rollout

They're the deliveries that the world has been waiting for.

Boxes full of Pfizer/BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Paris Saturday (December 26) as the country- and the continent- prepares to start its vaccination programmes.

The European Union's regulatory approval for the shot was confirmed on Monday (December 21), with France planning to start inoculating the most vulnerable on Sunday (December 27).

Greece will also start vaccinations on Sunday, with nearly 10,000 doses arriving in Athens in a temperature controlled truck.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will be among the first to get a jab, while the country gives top priority to hospital staff and health sector employees.

Meantime, Hungary got a head start on the rest of the bloc, as it started vaccinating healthcare workers in Budapest on Saturday.

State news agency MTI reported that Hungary received its first shipment Saturday morning that will be enough to inoculate 4,875 people.

Virus hotspots Italy and Spain also received shipments Saturday, as did Germany, with Health Minister Jens Spahn praising the rollout.

"There really is a happy Christmas message. At this moment, lorries with the first vaccines are on the road all over Europe, all over Germany, in all federal states. Further deliveries will follow the day after tomorrow. This vaccine is the crucial key for defeating the pandemic. It's the key for us getting back our lives."

The UK became the first country in the world to roll out the vaccine earlier this month.

Video Transcript

- They're the deliveries that the world has been waiting for, boxes full of Pfizer BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Paris Saturday as the country and the continent prepares to start its vaccination programs. The European Union's regulatory approval for the shot was confirmed on Monday, with France planning to start inoculating the most vulnerable on Sunday.

Greece will also start vaccinations on Sunday, with nearly 10,000 doses arriving in Athens in a temperature-controlled truck. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will be among the first to get a jab, while the country gives top priority to hospital staff and health sector employees. Meantime, Hungary got a head start on the rest of the bloc, as it started vaccinating health care workers in Budapest on Saturday.

State news agency, MTI, reported that Hungary received its first shipment Saturday morning. That will be enough to inoculate 4,875 people. Virus hotspots, Italy and Spain, also received shipments Saturday, as did Germany, with Health Minister Jens Spahn praising the rollout.

JENS SPAHN: [SPEAKING GERMAN]

INTERPRETER: It really is a happy Christmas message.

JENS SPAHN: [SPEAKING GERMAN]

INTERPRETER: At this moment, lorries with the first vaccines are on the road all over Europe, all over Germany, in all federal states.

JENS SPAHN: [SPEAKING GERMAN]

INTERPRETER: Further deliveries will follow the day after tomorrow. This vaccine is the crucial key for defeating the pandemic. It's the key for us getting back our lives.

- The UK became the first country in the world to roll out the vaccine earlier this month.