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'It's happening': First COVID vaccine doses to arrive in EU member states on December 26

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A health worker extracts a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the military base in Queretaro, Mexico, Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020.
A health worker extracts a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the military base in Queretaro, Mexico, Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Ginnette Riquelme
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COVID-19 vaccines are being prepared for shipment to European Union member states, the Commission confirmed on Thursday.

"It's happening: COVID-vaccines are being sent to all EU countries," Isaac Valero, assistant to the Commission's Secretary-General, said on Twitter.

Member states will each receive approximately 10.000 doses for this first delivery on December 26, the Commission told Euronews.

Deliveries will continue in December and on a steady weekly basis during the following months. Brussels has previously said member states would be allocated doses based on their population size.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) authorised the emergency use of the jab developed by Pfizer and BioNtech on Monday and EU countries will start their vaccination campaigns from Sunday.

Brussels has struck several Advance Purchase Agreements for COVID-19 vaccines and secured up to 300 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine — the only one approved so far by European authorities.

This means up to 150 million Europeans can receive it as two shots are required for it to be more than 90 per cent effective.

The Commission expects the distribution of the first 200 million doses to be completed by September 2021, and is currently "working to activate the additional 100 million doses," it told Euronews.

The EMA has also brought forward its review of the Moderna vaccine to January 6. The Commission has struck a contract with the US company to purchase up to 160 million doses — enough to vaccinate a further 80 million Europeans.