Slovakia started its COVID-19 vaccination campaign on Saturday, a day earlier than the European Commission’s planned coordinated roll-out across all member states.
EU member states each received a first shipment of just under 10,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine on Saturday but vaccination was not supposed to start across the bloc’s 27 nations until Sunday.
Vladimir Krcmery, a member of the government’s Pandemic Commission, was the first person in the country inoculated by the vaccine produced by Pfizer and BionTech.
The first ten vaccines, administered in front of cameras, went to members of the government’s advisory body, top experts in immunology, infectology, and epidemiology.
President Zuzana Čaputová, cabinet ministers, and representatives of the parliament will be vaccinated in Bratislava on Sunday.
Today, we start turning the page on a difficult year. The #COVID19 vaccine has been delivered to all EU countries.
Vaccination will begin tomorrow across the EU.
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) December 26, 2020
In an effort to ensure fair access across the bloc, the EU is carrying out a coordinated vaccination program.
The European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, has already signed contracts with several other suppliers of potential coronavirus vaccines in an effort to secure enough doses for all adult EU citizens.
The BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine presents a unique logistical challenge as it must be stored at around -70 degrees Celsius to keep the doses viable. Over short distances, the vaccine can be transported for short periods at 2 – 8 degrees Celsius.
Vaccinations are already underway in the United Kingdom and the United States after regulators pushed through emergency approval.