Coronavirus: Which European country is fastest at rolling out the vaccine?

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By Alice Tidey
A health worker extracts a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Rene-Muret hospital in Servan near Paris, Sunday Dec. 27, 2020.
A health worker extracts a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Rene-Muret hospital in Servan near Paris, Sunday Dec. 27, 2020.   -  Copyright  Thomas Samson/Pool Photo via AP

European countries have started immunising people against COVID-19 in earnest but huge discrepancies in the pace of vaccination exist.

Israel and the UK are the countries that have administered the most vaccine doses to date while France and the Netherlands are among the slowest countries.

Euronews takes a look at the data.


The UK was the first country in the world to authorise the use of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNtech. Vaccination started on December 8.

By January 1, 2021, more than one million vaccine doses had been administered, according to Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

The pace of vaccination is expected to accelerate quickly on January 4 as a second vaccine — from AstraZeneca and Oxford University — starts being rolled out. Some 530,000 doses are scheduled to be administered in the first week.

The Oxford vaccine is cheaper and easier to roll out because it can be stored and transported at normal refrigerated conditions. The Pfizer vaccine needs to be kept at -70°C.


Nearly 1.1 million Israelis had, by January 3, received their first dose of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine, according to Health Minister Yuri Elderstein.

This means that 12 per cent of the country's 8.9 million population have ben given the first dose.

"This is an extraordinary achievement thanks to our medical staff. Thanks to you, we are the first in the world in providing vaccine," Elderstein wrote on Twitter.

European union

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on December 21 with the roll-out coordinated by the European Commission.

Brussels has struck Advance Purchase Agreements with multiple companies and secured enough doses to vaccinate the bloc's 450 million population. The first delivery of the vaccine to member states was carried out on December 26. Each member state will be allocated doses based on their population size.

The EMA is expected to authorise the use of the Moderna vaccine on January 6.

So far, Denmark has the highest vaccination rate among EU member states. More than 45,800 of the country's 5.8 million inhabitants had received the jab by January 2 giving it a vaccination rate per 100 people of 0.78.

But in absolute terms, Germany has handed out the most vaccine doses. More than 188,500 had been administered by January 1, according to the Robert Koch Institute.

The country's vaccination rate per 100 population currently stands at 0.23.

Croatia and Portugal come next with rates of 0.19 and 0.16 respectively. They are followed by Italy and Poland which currently have rates of around 0.13 vaccination doses per 100 inhabitants. Italy, Europe's most heavily impacted country with nearly 75,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19, has so far vaccinated over 79,000 people

Austria, Bulgaria and Romania have a similar vaccinate rate — 0.07 doses per 100 inhabitants. In absolute terms, Bucharest has delivered 13,200 doses, Vienna 6,000 and Sofia 4,739.

Estonia has vaccinated just under 2,500 people, giving it a vaccinate rate of 0.2, higher than Greece and Finland's 0.03 figure. Athens and Helsinki have each administered 3,001 and 1,767 vaccine doses.

France's government has been criticised for the slow pace of vaccination with just 352 of the country's 67 million people receiving the first dose by December 31. Authorities have promised to accelerate the pace and started the vaccination of healthcare workers over the age of 50 on Saturday — a week earlier than initially planned.

Finally, the Netherlands will start its vaccination campaign on January 8.