First vaccines leave plant for EU rollout

By: AFP      Published: 06:54 PM, 23 Dec, 2020
First vaccines leave plant for EU rollout

Trucks carrying the first batches of coronavirus vaccines for EU citizens left the giant Pfizer plant in Belgium Wednesday ahead of a rollout across the 27-nation bloc. 

Member states are set to start issuing the Pfizer-BioNTech inoculations from December 27 after the European Union's medicines regulator gave the green light on Monday. 

An AFP journalist saw three refrigerated trucks leaving US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer's sprawling factory in northeast Belgium with two police cars escorting each. 

Pfizer refused to say where in the EU the first deliveries were headed.

The EU has looked to speed up the start of vaccinations after Britain and the United States began giving people the jab earlier in December.

On Wednesday, Switzerland became the latest country to begin inoculations, with a care home resident in her 90s becoming the country's first person to receive an approved shot. 

A European decision on another vaccine candidate, produced by US firm Moderna, is due by January 6, and several more are in the testing pipeline.