Netherlands goals to start Pfizer-BioNTech photographs by Jan 8

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Netherlands aims to begin Pfizer-BioNTech shots by Jan 8

On Wednesday, December 16, 2020, people will line up for a throat and nose swab at a COVID-19 test facility run by the municipal health authority GGD in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte imposed a tough lockdown in a speech on Monday evening before the nation ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses and establishments such as hair salons, museums and theaters as coronavirus infection rates soar in the Netherlands despite a two-month partial lockdown. (AP Photo / Peter Dejong)

The Dutch Minister of Health said Thursday that the coronavirus vaccinations with the Pfizer BioNTech shots will start January 8, when the European Union Medicines Agency approves use for next week.

Hugo de Jonge said health officials have come up with a plan that he described as "careful, safe and responsible".

The first vaccines will be given to nursing home workers and other health professionals.

In neighboring Germany, the authorities announced on Wednesday that vaccinations in nursing homes would start on December 27.

The Ministry of Health described the January 8 date as "the fastest planning that can be done, taking into account all due diligence and steps" that can only be carried out if the European Medicines Agency gives the vaccine the green light.

These steps include a Dutch health department, which publishes advice on the suitability of the vaccine for different sections of the Dutch population and tests IT systems that are used during the vaccination process.

The Netherlands intends to start the Pfizer BioNTech recordings by January 8th
Medical staff will wait for the next line for a throat and nose swab at a COVID-19 test facility of the municipal health authority GGD in Utrecht, the Netherlands, on Wednesday, December 16, 2020. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte imposed a tough lockdown Monday night in a speech to the nation that closes all non-essential businesses and establishments such as hair salons, museums and theaters as coronavirus infection rates soar in the Netherlands despite a two-month partial lockdown. (AP Photo / Peter Dejong)

"Ultimately, our goal is the highest possible vaccination rate," said De Jonge. "We can only achieve this if people have confidence in the vaccine and in the vaccination process."

The ministry expects the first 500,000 doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine to be ready before the end of the year, shortly after it was approved by the EU Medicines Agency, which meets on Monday to discuss approval.

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