ROME, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- The first three Italians -- a medical researcher, a nurse, and a healthcare worker -- were inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine at Rome's Spallanzani Hospital on Sunday.
"With deep pride and a sense of responsibility I received the vaccine today," said nurse Claudia Alivernini. "I have seen first-hand how difficult it is to fight this virus. Science and medicine are the only way we can win this battle."
"Today is a beautiful day for Italy and for Europe," commented Health Minister Roberto Speranza. "Now we have an additional weapon to fight this virus."
The first shipment of 9,750 COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Italy from Belgium on Friday, and another 470,000 doses are expected to arrive next week, the Ministry of Health said in a statement on Saturday.
To date, Italy has reported 2,038,759 COVID-19 cases and over 71,000 deaths, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.