Germany's health minister, Jens Spahn, at a press briefing on Saturday morning described the arrival of the first doses as a “merry Christmas message,” and called on as many citizens as possible to get vaccinated in “a national show of strength”.
“At this moment, trucks are on the road all over Europe to deliver the vaccines,” he said. “The vaccination centres are ready to go. The vaccination teams are in place.”
Berlin's health chief, Dilek Kalayci, said on Twitter that the first 9,750 doses had arrived in the German capital at 10.20am.
“Even if it's still some time before we reach herd immunity against Corona reach,” she wrote in an earlier tweet. “For me today is a day of hope.”
According to Germany's state broadcaster ARD
, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state, also received its 9,750 doses on Saturday morning, with the insulated boxes then stored in a secret warehouse.
The 9,750 doses earmarked for Bavaria were split between two warehouses, one in Erlangen and the other in Munich.
Health officials from Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt also confirmed to ARD that they had received their doses.
In the first quarter of 2021, German health authorities expect to receive 10m doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
Moderna, whose vaccine is expected to be approved at the start of the year, should also be able to supply 1.5m doses if its vaccine is approved as expected at the start of next year.
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At the press conference, Spahn argued that those who got vaccinated were performing a service to the nation.
“Those who take part will be saving lives,” he said.