Several EU nations have begun vaccinating their most vulnerable groups today as a new coronavirus variant spread internationally and the WHO warned the current pandemic will not be the last.

Several EU nations have begun vaccinating their most vulnerable groups today as a new coronavirus variant spread internationally and the WHO warned the current pandemic will not be the last.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis became the first person in his country to be given the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19 at the Central Military Hospital in Prague.
“The vaccine which arrived from the European Union yesterday, that is a hope, a hope that we will return to a normal life,” Mr Babis said before receiving the jab.
As of this morning, Czechs had reported 670,599 cases of coronavirus while 11,044 people have died.
A 101-year-old woman in an elderly care homebecame the first person in Germany to be inoculated against coronavirus yesterday.
Hungary and Slovakia also began their vaccination campaigns yesterday.
Three health workers at the Rome Spallanzani hospital in Italy were inoculated shortly before 7am today with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, according to a statement by the commissioner for the epidemic Domenico Arcuri.
“The vaccine went very well and it was an exciting, historical moment,” 29-year-old nurse Claudia Aliverini told state-owned television Rainenews 24.
“It is the beginning of the end and I hope to be the first of over 60 millions of Italians [to be vaccinated]”.
Italy has reported 70,909 deaths from the disease, the highest toll in Europe and the fifth highest in the world.
Jytte Margrete Frederiksen, 83, was one of the first Danes to be inoculated today as Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen looked on via videolink from her residence Marienborg.
Jytte Margrete Frederiksen, 83, getting the Covid vaccine today in Ishoj, Denmark
The approval and roll-out of vaccines has boosted hopes that 2021 could bring a respite from the pandemic, which has killed more than 1.7 million people since emerging in China late last year.
However, in a video message ahead of the first International Day of Epidemic Preparedness, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was time to learn the lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“History tells us that this will not be the last pandemic, and epidemics are a fact of life,” said Mr Tedros.
“Any efforts to improve human health are doomed unless they address the critical interface between humans and animals, and the existential threat of climate change that’s making our Earth less habitable,” he added.
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Meanwhile France has not ruled out imposing a third nationwide lockdown if coronavirus cases continue to rise, its health minister said today, as the country braces for a possible post-Christmas spike.  
“We will never exclude measures that are necessary to protect the public,” Olivier Veran told the Journal du Dimanche.
“That is not to say we have made a decision, but that we are watching the situation hour by hour.”
France has been registering around 15,000 new infections per day, and on Friday confirmed the first case of a new coronavirus variant that recently emerged in Britain.
Spain and Sweden have also confirmed cases of the new strain, which experts fear is more contagious.
Healthcare worker Monica Tapias, 48, is inoculated at Los Olmos nursing home in Guadalajara, Spain
A 96-year-old living in a care home in central Spain became the first person in the country to be vaccinated today, in an event broadcast by national television.
Araceli Rosario Hidalgo Sanchez smiled and said she felt “nothing” from the shot.
EU commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said in a video on her Twitter account that the campaign start was a “touching moment of unity and a European success story” and said the EU had “secured enough doses for our whole population of 450 million people.”
“The vaccination is the key to ending the pandemic,” added German Health Minister Jens Spahn. “This is a hopeful day for Europe.”