Spain to start virus vaccinations Dec 27
The announcement comes a day after European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen announced the EU would begin inoculations against Covid-19 with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine between December 27 and 29, saying it was "Europe's moment" in the battle against the virus.
The European Medicines Agency is expected to decide whether or not to approve the Pfizer vaccine on December 21 -- a week earlier than initially expected.
"This is the beginning of the end of the pandemic, not the end, so we must continue to keep our guard up," Illa told a news conference.
Spain plans to vaccinate elderly residents and staff in nursing homes first, then health workers and other vulnerable people such as the elderly and people with underlying health conditions.
The government expects to have around 15-20 million people out of its population of 47 million vaccinated against the virus by June.
Spain has been one of Europe's worst-hit countries, with the virus infecting more than 1.7 million people and causing over 48,000 deaths.