Belgium on Monday became the latest country to launch the COVID-19 vaccination campaign while a new coronavirus variant has created scare all over the world.
With old-age home residents first in line, followed by carers, medical staff and social workers, "I think it's a relief... Covid was a true trial for residents and staff," Brussels region health minister Alain Maron said.
Israel, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has boasted of a "world record" vaccination drive that inoculated 380,000 of its 8.7 million people by Monday, began issuing shots to soldiers at 17 centres nationwide.
While the IDF is "one of the first militaries in the world to launch a vaccination campaign for its soldiers," it will be "months" before all are protected, doctor Yael Arbel of the army medical corps said.
As vaccinations have started arriving in large numbers in nations across the world, the COVID-19 cases have caught up to speed with them. Global infections have raced past 80 million with nearly 1.8 million deaths.
The new COVID-19 strain was detected in the United Kingdom, which is suspected to be more transmissible.
After it spread to several European countries as well as Japan and Canada, South Korea became the latest nation Monday to detect the virus variant, in three individuals from a London-based family who arrived in the country last week.
Five cases were also identified in Spain's southern Andalusia region. Itself hard hit by the strain, South Africa became the first African nation to log one million cases, official data showed Sunday.
Most of these countries are considering reimposing restrictions, with leaders worldwide facing similar dilemmas over unpopular and economically damaging lockdowns.
While many nations have joined the immunization programme, pharmaceutical company Pfizer has warned of delays to some shipments of the vaccine.
A "minor logistical issue" meant some vaccine deliveries were "rescheduled", Pfizer spokesman Andrew Widger said, but insisted the problems had been "resolved".
The United States also began their vaccination drive, while top government scientist Anthony Fauci warned Sunday that the worst of the pandemic may be yet to come, driving the country to a "critical point" as holiday travel spreads the coronavirus.
About two million Americans have been vaccinated so far, well below the 20 million the Trump administration has promised by year-end.
Another concern is people’s reluctance in getting the vaccine, especially due to anti-vaccine misinformation campaigns.
Polls have shown many Europeans are unwilling to take the vaccine, which could impede efforts to beat the virus and reach widespread immunisation.