“I am moved,” said the woman, who was named only as Mauricette, as she received her injection at 11am on Sunday. She smiled and was applauded by hospital staff.
A 65-year-old cardiologist, Dr. Jean-Jacques Monsuez, was next to be vaccinated, shortly before 11:20am.
“We have a new weapon against the virus — the vaccine,” French President Emmanuel Macron said over Twitter after the inoculation was complete.
Nous avons une nouvelle arme contre le virus : le vaccin. Tenir ensemble, encore.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) December 27, 2020
About 20 old-age pensioners and healthcare workers are expected to receive the vaccine on Sunday during the symbolic launch of the programme, which will be split between Sevran and a geriatric care centre in Dijon.
EU commission chief Ursula von der Leyen hailed the campaign start as a “touching moment of unity and a European success story”.
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In a sign of impatience, some EU countries began vaccinating on Saturday, a day before the official start, with a 101-year-old woman in a care home becoming the first person in Germany to be inoculated and Hungary and Slovakia also handing out their first shots.
Countries also showed different strategies in their vaccination targeting, with Italy focusing on health workers, France the elderly and in the Czech Republic the prime minister himself at the front of the queue.