Dutch will start COVID-19 vaccinations on January 8: minister
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Netherlands will not be among the first EU countries ready to start with COVID-19 vaccinations in December, but will begin inoculation on Jan 8, health minister Hugo de Jonge said on Thursday. 'We have opted for a planning that is careful, safe and responsible', De Jonge said in a letter to parliament. 'We need as many people as possible to get vaccinated.
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Netherlands will not be among the first EU countries ready to start with COVID-19 vaccinations in December, but will begin inoculation on Jan 8, health minister Hugo de Jonge said on Thursday.
"We have opted for a planning that is careful, safe and responsible", De Jonge said in a letter to parliament.
"We need as many people as possible to get vaccinated. That will only happen if people trust the vaccine and the process of vaccination."
EU commission head Ursula von der Leyen said earlier that European Union countries would begin inoculating people against the coronavirus on Dec. 27-29, assuming the EU regulator approves a vaccine.
But officials in the Netherlands, which registered a record 12,779 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours on Thursday to a total of more than 652,500, quickly played down chances they would be ready this month.
"We have always said we were on track to start vaccinations in January," said spokeswoman Sonja Kloppenburg of the Dutch municipal health authorities (GGD). "And that remains the case."
"We will start when we feel it is safe to do so."
The European Medicine Agency (EMA) has said an expert panel will convene on Monday to evaluate the vaccine made by U.S. company Pfizer and German partner BioNTech.
The Netherlands expects to receive an initial batch of 507,000 out of 7.8 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine soon after EMA approval has been granted.
The first injections will be reserved for healthcare workers, De Jonge said.
(Reporting by Toby Sterling, Bart Meijer and Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Alistair Bell)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.