MADRID: Spanish authorities said the first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine to reach the country has arrived.
The government said Saturday (Dec 26) morning that a truck transporting the vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech arrived at a Pfizer warehouse in the central city of Guadalajara after making the trip from Belgium.
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.
It is the first part of what the government says will be weekly shipments of an average of 350,000 doses.
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 first vaccines will be administered Sunday morning at a nursing home in Guadalajara.
Spain plans to receive more than 4.5 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine over the next 12 weeks, enough it says to immunise just over 2.2 million people. It will represent the first phase of a national vaccination plan.
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.