Spain received its first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine on Saturday, a day before the country is set to begin its immunisation campaign.
A refrigerated truck arrived at Pfizer’s warehouse in Guadalajara in central Spain with the shipment, three days after it left the company’s factory in Puurs in northeast Belgium, the health ministry said in a statement.
After repackaging, the vaccines will be redistributed to Spain’s 17 autonomous regions so that vaccination can begin across the country as planned on Sunday, it added.
Spain will receive 4.5 million Pfizer vaccine doses over the next 12 weeks, enough to vaccinate some 2.3 million people, according to the ministry.
It plans to vaccinate elderly residents and staff in nursing homes first, then health workers and other vulnerable people such as the elderly and people with underlying health conditions.
The government expects to have between 15 million and 20 million people out of its population of 47 million vaccinated against the virus by June.
Spain has been one of Europe’s worst-hit countries by the pandemic, with the virus infecting over 1.8 million people and causing nearly 50,000 deaths, according to health ministry figures.