The mass vaccination programme to protect people from the coronavirus has started globally to combat the pandemic, which has killed more than 1.73 million people globally and infected 78 million people since late December last year.
On December 8 2020, the United Kingdom became the first country in the world to start administrating its citizens with a fully trialled and tested COVID-19 vaccine, soon followed by several other nations.
Here is a list of countries that have approved and started administrating the COVID vaccines to their populations:
Health workers will be first in line to receive the first shot of the two-component Russian Sputnik V vaccine on December 29
The vaccine will be administered across all 23 provinces and in the capital Buenos Aires.
On December 29, Belarus started administering the Russian-made Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to its populations, local media reported.
The country’s long-time leader Alexander Lukashenko said recently the goal was to voluntarily vaccinate up to 2 million people in the Eastern European nation that has close ties to Moscow.
People in Belgium received the first COVID-19 vaccines developed by BioNTech/Pfizer on December 28.
The first vaccine was given to 96-year-old Jos Hermans at a nursing home in the municipality of Puurs, where Pfizer’s production facility is located.
“I feel 30 years younger now,” Hermans told local media after receiving the vaccine.
The country of 11 million plans to vaccinate 70 percent of its population by the end of 2021.
On January 23, Brazil began distributing two million ready-to-use AstraZeneca PLC COVID-19 vaccines after they arrived in the country from India.
Brazil’s government had a deal with AstraZeneca to produce up to 100 million doses of its vaccine locally, but the delivery of the active ingredient needed to manufacture them was plagued by delays from China.
As a result, AstraZeneca agreed to supply the government with 2 million ready-to-use doses made in India.
The first COVID-19 patient to be inoculated in Canada was an 89-year-old woman from Quebec who received the Pfizer vaccine on December 14.
The North American country, along with neighbouring US, has also approved the Moderna vaccine for its mass immunisation programme. The first shipment of the Moderna shots arrived on Thursday.
On December 24, Chile became the second Latin American nation after Mexico to start its inoculation programme.
Zulema Riquelme, a 42-year-old nurse, got the first jab in the presence of President Sebastian Pinera.
Costa Rica received its first shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses on Wednesday, and the country administered the first shot on December 24 to a wheelchair-bound, 91-year-old nursing home resident, Elizabeth Castillo.
“I am very grateful to God, because I have asked so much of him. My life is very important to me, so take advantage of every moment,” Castillo said.
Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado Quesada said the vaccinations “may be the beginning of the end of this pandemic”.
An 81-year-old nursing home resident became the first person on December 27 to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Croatia.
Top Croatian officials attended as Branka Anicic received the vaccine in front of cameras. Anicic said she was “so happy” to have been chosen, and urged others to get it too.
Cyprus began rolling out its vaccination programme on December 27, with pensioners at homes in the capital Nicosia and the towns of Larnaca and Limassol being the first to receive a shot of the two-dose vaccine.
The Czech Republic
Prime Minister Andrej Babis was the first to get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the Central Military Hospital in Prague on December 27, just before other hospitals in the capital and second-largest city Brno started to distribute the 9,750 doses the country has received so far.
“The vaccine which arrived from the European Union yesterday, that is a hope, a hope that we will return to a normal life,” Babis said before taking the jab.
Denmark also began vaccinating people at care homes on December 27, with 79-year-old Leif Hasselberg being the first in the country to receive the vaccination in the city of Odense.
Six frontline health workers – three women and three men – were on December 27 the first to be vaccinated with the new coronavirus vaccine in Finland. The vaccinations took place at Helsinki University Hospital.
The first vaccines in France were applied to a woman and a doctor, both 78, in Rene-Muret Hospital near the capital Paris on December 26.
Vaccinations against the coronavirus began in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt on December 26.
At the Krueger centre for senior citizens in the town of Halberstadt, 101-year-old Edith Kwoizalla was the first of its residents to be vaccinated.
Efstathia Kambissiouli, head nurse at an intensive care unit, became the first person on December 27 to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.
Greece’s president and prime Minister were the third and fourth people in the country to get inoculated.
Hungary started vaccinating healthcare workers against the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on December 26.
Hungary received its first shipment of coronavirus vaccines Saturday morning that will be enough to inoculate 4,875 people, state news agency MTI reported.
The move upset the European Union’s plans for a coordinated rollout of the first shots across the 27-nation bloc on December 27.
On December 28, Hungary also received 6,000 doses of Russia’s controversial Sputnik V vaccine.
On January 16, India started one of the world’s largest vaccination campaigns, as part of efforts by the populous nation to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control starting with two locally-manufactured shots.
The campaign prioritised nurses, doctors and other frontline workers.
“We are launching the world’s biggest vaccination drive and it shows the world our capability,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said. He implored citizens to keep their guard up and not to believe any “rumours about the safety of the vaccines”.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a COVID-19 vaccine jab on December 19, kicking off a national roll-out.
Netanyahu, 71, and his health minister were injected with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine live on TV at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv.
The first vaccinations against the coronavirus disease in Italy took place on December 27, with nurse Claudia Alivernini becoming the first person in Italy to receive the vaccine.
She was inoculated with four others at the Spallanzani hospital in Rome.
Kuwait also began its coronavirus vaccination campaign on December 24.
The country received the first 150,000 doses of the vaccine developed by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.
A state hospital nurse has become the first person in Malta to receive a COVID-19 vaccine on December 27, as the Mediterranean country kicked off its vaccination programme at the same time as other EU members.
On January 26, Mauritius began vaccinating against COVID-19.
An on-duty doctor at Victoria Hospital, in the central town of Quatre-Bornes, was the first to receive the jab, with about 100 other medical staff expected to be vaccinated Tuesday.
Mexico started its mass vaccination programme on December 24, with a nurse being the first to receive the jab in the country with one of the world’s highest COVID-19 death tolls.
The televised launch came a day after the first 3,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine arrived by a courier plane from Belgium.
Morocco started its national vaccination campaign on January 28 after receiving vaccine shipments from AstraZeneca and Sinopharm.
Inaugurating the campaign, King Mohammed was given the vaccine at his palace in Fez.
On December 27, Oman launched its COVID-19 inoculation campaign, with the sultanate’s health minister receiving the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
Oman says it aims to vaccinate 60 percent of its roughly 5 million people. The Health Ministry said the initial phase of the vaccination campaign would cover 20 percent of the population due to temporarily limited supply.
Pakistan launched its COVID-19 vaccine drive on February 2 at a ceremony in the capital attended in which a doctor was the first in the country to receive the shot.
Alicja Jakubowska, head nurse at the Interior Ministry hospital in the capital Warsaw, received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on December 27 – the first person to be vaccinated in Poland.
Qatar launched a free coronavirus vaccination campaign after the first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived in the Gulf state on December 22.
The vaccine will be administered in two doses, three weeks apart at seven primary health centres across the country.
Qatar has also signed deals to acquire Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines.
Mihaela Anghel, a nurse at the Matei Bals Institute in Bucharest, was the first person to get the vaccine in Romania as the country rolled out the vaccination on December 27.
The Russian government says it has been inoculating its citizens since September with its Sputnik V vaccine.
On August 13, President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia had become the first country to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine.
However, the approval for use was given without the country completing its phase-three trial, raising questions from world health organisations and scientists.
Saudi Arabia, the worst-affected country on the Arabian Peninsula with more than 360,000 recorded cases, including 6,148 deaths, began its campaign with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on December 17.
The Balkan nation started its vaccine roll-out on December 24, with Prime Minister Ana Brnabic becoming the first to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
On December 26, Slovakia started to vaccinate its population against the global pandemic.
Vladimir Krcmery, a member of the government’s Pandemic Commission, was the first person in the country inoculated by the vaccine produced by Pfizer and BionTech.
A 96-year-old living in a care home in central Spain became the first person in the country to be vaccinated against COVID-19 on December 27.
Araceli Rosario Hidalgo Sanchez said she felt “nothing” with a smile after being injected in a retirement home in Guadalajara.
Switzerland started its coronavirus vaccine rollout on December 23, with a care home resident in her 90s receiving the first shot just four days after the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was authorised.
Singapore began its coronavirus vaccination campaign on December 30 with a nurse receiving the first jab, making it among the first Asian nations to roll out inoculations.
Nurse Sarah Lim, 46, whose work includes screening suspected Covid-19 patients, was the first to be immunised, the health ministry said.
Turkey rolled out its vaccination programme on January 14, a day after Turkish authorities gave the green light for the Chinese Sinovac vaccine to be utilized for emergency use.
Some 256,000 health care workers received shots on the first day of the inoculation programme.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was also inoculated with the vaccine on January 14.
United Arab Emirates
The first jabs of the coronavirus vaccine to residents were administered in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, on December 14.
The oil-rich Gulf state has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech and Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccines for mass use.
On December 8, Margaret Keenan, a 90-year-old British grandmother, became the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine outside of a trial.
But shortly after the vaccination programme was launched, the UK imposed tough lockdown measures after a new and more contagious strain of the coronavirus was found.
The same day, the US also started administrating the Pfizer vaccine, with a critical care nurse in New York City, Sandra Lindsay, becoming the first American to receive it.
The Pfizer-BioNTech has been administered to more than a million people since the programme began even as the US authorities have approved a second vaccine made by Moderna.