Hungary starts coronavirus vaccinations

ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP

Hungary started vaccinating healthcare workers against the coronavirus with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, a day earlier than in most other countries in the European Union.

The first shipment of vaccines arrived on Saturday morning that will be enough to inoculate 4,875 people, state news agency MTI reported.

The vaccines have been shipped to Budapest with police escort.

"We have started the inoculations among healthcare workers according to a plan defined earlier," a government spokesman said in a reply to Reuters questions.

The first vaccinations are being delivered at Budapest's main COVID centre, the Del-Pest Central Hospital, and in the afternoon at another main Budapest hospital as well, MTI reported.

Earlier this month, the United Kingdom became the first country in the world to roll out the vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech.

As of Saturday, Hungary had reported 315,362 COVID-19 cases with 8,951 deaths. More than 6,000 people are still in hospital, straining the country's healthcare system.

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