World

France Receives First Doses Of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine

France Receives First Doses Of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine

Boxes of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines arrive on the outskirts of Paris.

Paris:

France's first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine were delivered early Saturday to the Paris hospital system's central pharmacy outside the capital, an AFP journalist saw.

After more than 62,000 Covid-19 deaths in France, shots are set to begin with people in two elderly care homes on Sunday, the same day the rest of the EU begins injections.

A refrigerated truck brought the roughly 19,500 doses from the Pfizer factory in Puurs, northeast Belgium, to Paris, the capital's APHP hospital authority said, with pharmacy chief Franck Huet calling it a "historic" moment in the pandemic.

After repackaging in Paris, the vaccines will be delivered to a long-term care unit at a hospital in Sevran, outside the capital, and an old-age care home in Dijon, in eastern France.

The first EU deliveries come after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) gave the Pfizer-BioNTech shot its green light on Monday and France's HAS health authority in turn on Thursday.

Newsbeep

Countries are especially eager to begin their vaccination campaigns as a new strain believed to be more infectious spreads from Britain. A first case was identified in France on Friday.

But large-scale inoculations for residents and staff in France's 7,000 elderly care homes will not begin until early 2021.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)