Doctors, nurses and elderly people across the European Union were among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday.
For a continent reeling from its worst medical crisis in a century, it was a symbol of unity and hope.
Rome, Dec. 27 (AP) — It’s also a public opportunity to urge Europe’s 450 million people to get vaccinated amid lingering doubts about vaccines and the virus.
“Today, as a citizen, but most of all as a nurse, I am here on behalf of nurses and all health workers who choose to believe in science,” said Claudia Alivenini, 29.
She was the first person vaccinated at the Spalanzani Hospital for Infectious Diseases in Rome.
Austria’s Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, called the record-setting pace of development a “game-changer”.
“We know today is not the end of the epidemic, but it is the beginning of victory,” he said.
Italian virus expert Domenico Arcuri said the first Italian vaccines were given at the Spalanzani Infectious Diseases Hospital, which is significant because it was the same hospital where the first confirmed cases in Italy were detected in January.
“Today is a beautiful day symbolically: the first rays of sunlight after a long night when all European citizens started vaccinating together,” Arkuri told reporters.
Commission President Ursula von der Leine said the EU would have more vaccines than necessary this year as more were developed and could share its surplus with the Western Balkans and Africa.
“Europe is in a strong position,” she insists.
Among the politicians who gave the vaccine a boost to its popularity on The 27th was Kostadin Anglov, Bulgaria’s health minister.
“I can’t wait to see my 70-year-old father without worrying that I might infect him,” Anglov said.
The Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, declared December 27 “a great day for science and the European Union” after the injection.
According to Reuters Warsaw/Sofia on December 27, in order to control the epidemic, Europe launched a huge campaign to vaccinating the COVID-19 vaccine on December 27.
But many Europeans remain wary of testing and approving vaccines too quickly.
From France to Poland, surveys show a high proportion of people are hesitant to get vaccinated, and many are used to getting a vaccine that takes decades to develop rather than months to introduce.
“I’m not saying you shouldn’t get vaccinated,” said Irenius Sikorski, 41, as he emerged from a church in central Warsaw with his two children.
But I will not let my children or myself test an unproven vaccine.”
According to the report, a survey conducted in Poland showed that less than 40 percent of people were ready to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Poles’ distrust of public institutions runs deep.
Only half of the staff at a Warsaw hospital where the first dose of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine was administered in Poland signed up Wednesday.
In Bulgaria, 45 per cent said they would not be vaccinated and 40 per cent were prepared to wait to see if there were any side effects.
One bishop compared COVID-19 to polio, standing next to the health minister after the vaccination, told reporters: “As far as I am concerned, I will be vaccinated as long as there is a vaccine.”
He talked about the anxiety about polio in the 1950s and 1960s, before the vaccine came out.
“We were all shaking with fear, with polio,” he said.
Then [after the vaccine came out] we were ecstatic.
And now, unfortunately, we have to convince the people.”
The report notes that the general hesitancy about vaccines does not appear to take into account scientific developments in recent decades.
According to a 2013 study, traditional methods of making vaccines take an average of 10 years.
But today, the Messenger RIbonucleic Acid-based Modena vaccine is only 63 days from gene sequencing to its first injection into humans.
Jeremy Farrar, head of the Clinical department at Oxford University, said: “We will look back at 2020 and see that was the moment when science took a leap forward.”