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The European Union (EU) has launched a campaign encouraging citizens to receive the coronavirus vaccine in the wake of the European Medicines Agency’s approval of the shot.

Like numerous other countries and territories, the EU will offer the vaccine first to the elderly and health care workers. It is slated to receive enough of the vaccine to inoculate 6.25 million people by the end of the year, according to Reuters.

The EU has entered contracts with several vaccine manufacturers, including Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna, and aims to vaccinate all adults in the year ahead.

“We know that today is not the end of the pandemic, but it is the beginning of the victory,” Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Sunday.

To combat reluctance to receive the vaccine, EU leaders are aggressively pitching vaccination as a way of returning to a pre-coronavirus status quo, according to the news service.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who recently recovered from a bout with the virus, tweeted that Europeans must “stand firm, once more” during the rollout of the drugs.

Skepticism about the vaccine has been particularly high in France, prompting officials to work to ensure the public does not perceive themselves as being forced to take it, according to The Associated Press. Although many other countries’ first vaccinations have been televised, France did not do so for its first inoculation at a nursing home, although it was broadcast elsewhere in Europe.

“We didn’t need to convince her. She said ‘yes, I’m ready for anything to avoid getting this disease,’” Samir Tine, the nursing home’s head of geriatric services, said of the 78-year-old resident who received the first dose in France, according to the AP.

Tags Coronavirus Emmanuel Macron

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