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Krystyna Matusik, a nurse from the Krakow University Hospital Intensive Care Unit, is given the first jab of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in Krakow, Poland, on Sunday. Photo: Omar Marques/Getty Images

The European Union began on Sunday a coordinated rollout of coronavirus vaccinations across its 27 member states in a drive to inoculate some 450 million people.

Why it matters: Several European countries have tightened restrictions as cases, deaths and hospitalizations surge. EU countries have recorded at least 16 million COVID-19 cases and 336,000 deaths since the pandemic began, per AP.

The big picture: Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shipments arrived to EU countries on Saturday. Most countries received just under 10,000 doses in their first shipments, according to AP.

  • Germany, Hungary and Slovakia gave their first coronavirus vaccine shots on Saturday, one ahead of the coordinated launch, AP notes.
  • Germany gave the first shots to a small number of people at a home for the elderly on Saturday, per Reuters.
  • Hungary administered its first vaccine doses to frontline health workers in Budapest.
  • Slovakia also gave some its first shots to healthcare workers, according to AP.

What they're saying: "Today, we start turning the page on a difficult year. The COVID-19 vaccine has been delivered to all EU countries. Vaccination will begin tomorrow across the EU," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a video she tweeted Saturday.

  • "The #EUvaccinationdays are a touching moment of unity. Vaccination is the lasting way out of the pandemic," she added.
  • German Health Minister Jens Spahn told a news conference Saturday that the "vaccine is the decisive key to end this pandemic ... it is the key to getting our lives back," per AP.

Go deeper... The challenge of 2021: Vaccinating the world

Editor's note: This article has been updated with news of the coordinated rollout.

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

J&J says its one-shot vaccine is 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID

Photo: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson announced Friday that its single-shot coronavirus vaccine was 66% effective in protecting against moderate to severe COVID-19 disease in Phase 3 trials, which was comprised of nearly 44,000 participants across eight countries.

Between the lines: The vaccine was 72% effective in the U.S., but only 57% effective in South Africa, where a more contagious variant has been spreading. It prevented 85% of severe infections and 100% of hospitalizations and deaths, according to the company.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

Updated 14 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker