Germany plans to begin vaccinating against the coronavirus on Dec. 27, the Health Ministry said Wednesday. 

“Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn has informed health ministers at a conference about the pending approval and delivery of the BioNTech vaccine. This means that vaccines against the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 will be rolled out in the federal states on Dec. 27,” the ministry said in a statement.

It noted that priority will be given to residents of nursing homes.

Use of the vaccine in Germany requires approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

The EMA will decide whether to approve the COVID-19 vaccine developed by BioNTech with US pharmaceutical company Pfizer on Dec. 21.

Pfizer and BioNTech had applied to the EMA on Nov. 30 to obtain a license for the vaccine they developed, called BNT162B2.

Since first emerging in Wuhan, China in December last year, COVID-19 has claimed over 1.64 million lives in 191 countries and regions.

More than 74 million cases have been reported worldwide and nearly 42 million recoveries, according to figures compiled by US-based Johns Hopkins University.

While the US, India and Brazil remain the worst-hit countries in terms of the number of cases, Europe is in the grip of a devastating second wave of infections.​​​​​​​

*Writing by Merve Berker

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