BUCHAREST, March 2 (Xinhua) -- The Republic of Moldova kicked off its COVID-19 vaccination campaign on Tuesday, with first-line medical staff being administered first.
As many as 751 medical employees were immunized on the first day of the vaccination campaign, according to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection.
President Maia Sandu welcomed the start of vaccination in Moldova, stressing that "this is an important day for all of us."
"The vaccine is the only way to stop the spread of disease, death, to gradually remove restrictions...every effort is being made to ensure that citizens have access to the vaccine as soon as possible," she wrote on her social media account.
The cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 187,847 in the nation of some 3.5 million people, up 1,400 from the previous day, according to the latest data from the health ministry.
With 27 more fatalities associated with the virus, the toll now stood at 4,002.
According to the official plan, vaccination will take place in three stages in Moldova. Doctors from intensive care and COVID-19 departments will be the first to receive the vaccine, followed by all employees in the medical system.
At the second stage, a total of about 733,000 people, including those over 60 years old, people with chronic diseases, teachers, law enforcement officers, penitentiary institution staff and the military, will benefit from the vaccine. The rest of the population will be vaccinated at the final stage.
The first 21,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, donated by Romania, reached Moldova on Saturday and the first batch of coronavirus vaccine under the COVAX platform is expected to arrive in the country by the end of the week.
As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in an increasing number of countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.
Meanwhile, 258 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide -- 76 of them in clinical trials -- in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain, and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on Tuesday. Enditem