New Delhi (NVI): The European Union (EU) began vaccine rollout today, even as countries in the bloc were forced back into lockdown by a new strain of the virus, believed to be more infectious, that continues to spread from Britain.
Vaccinations in all 27 European Union countries have kickstarted, after regulators approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on December 21.
Meanwhile, millions of people will face harsher coronavirus restrictions from Boxing Day, as tier changes come into force in England, and restrictions were imposed in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Hours before the first vaccine doses arrived in France, Paris’ health ministry also confirmed that it had detected its first case of the new variant in a citizen returned from Britain.
Several countries have reported cases of the new strain, which has sent jitters through already overstretched health services.
The new strain of the virus, which experts fear is more contagious, prompted more than 50 countries to impose travel restrictions on the UK, where it first emerged.
So far, the pandemic has claimed more than 1.7 million lives and is still running rampant in much of the world, but the recent launching of inoculation campaigns has boosted hopes that 2021 could bring a respite.