Coronavirus vaccination begins in Russia, UK Photograph:( Agencies )
Russia and the United Kingdom are the first two countries that have kickstarted the vaccination process giving them an edge over other countries
This is a historic week in the fight against the Wuhan virus as two major vaccine programs are now underway. Russia and the United Kingdom have started inoculating their citizens against the novel coronavirus this week.
The world's big powers have been racing for a vaccine for months in an attempt to be the first to begin the long road to recovery.
The approval of a vaccine for use almost exactly a year since the novel coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China, is a triumph for science, Pfizer boss Albert Bourla and his German biotechnology partner BioNTech.
Russia and the United Kingdom are the first two countries that have kickstarted the vaccination process giving them an edge over other countries.
Moscow wants to vaccinate up to seven million people, its Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said, as Russia on Sunday reported yet another record high number of new COVID-19 cases.
Moscow began distributing its Sputnik V COVID-19 shot via 70 clinics on Saturday to the most exposed groups, marking Russia's first large-scale vaccination against the disease.
The Russian-made vaccine will first be made available to doctors and other medical workers, teachers and social workers because they run the highest risk of exposure to the disease.
Russia reported a record daily increase of 29,039 new cases, taking the national total to 2,460,770 since the pandemic began, while the official national death toll rose to 43,141.
Russia, which has the world's fourth-highest number of coronavirus cases, puts high hopes on its vaccines but some scientists have raised concerns about the speed at which it gave the regulatory go-ahead and launched mass inoculations.
Britain is preparing to become the first country to roll out the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine this week, initially making the shot available at hospitals before distributing stocks to doctors' clinics, the government said on Sunday.
Footage posted by the National Health Service (NHS) showed boxes containing doses of the vaccine being delivered to Croydon University Hospital in south London and being stored in a special, securely locked fridge.
The first doses are set to be administered on Tuesday, with the NHS giving top priority to vaccinating the over-80s, frontline healthcare workers and care home staff and residents.
Britain gave emergency use approval for the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech last week - jumping ahead in the global race to begin the most crucial mass inoculation programme in history.
In total, Britain has ordered 40 million doses. As each person requires two doses, that is enough to vaccinate 20 million people in the country of 67 million.
About 800,000 doses are expected to be available within the first week.
Initial doses that have arrived from Belgium are being stored in secure locations across the country, where they will be quality checked, the health ministry said.
The rollout coincides with a crucial and perilous moment in negotiations between Britain and the European Union on a post-Brexit trade agreement.