11:52 GMT30 November 2020
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    ROME (Sputnik) - Italian authorities reached an agreement with US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer in late October on the delivery of 3.4 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, media outlets reported Tuesday.

    According to seminal newspaper La Repubblica, Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza earlier held virtual talks with company executives to negotiate details of vaccine distribution in early 2021.

    The Italian military will be mobilised to distribute the vaccine to frontline workers in hospitals and care homes as well as citizens in high-risk categories starting 20 January 2021, the newspaper reported.

    If successful, the 3.4 million doses can immunise some 1.7 million people in Italy, since individuals will require two doses of the vaccine to be effective.

    Italy is set to secure some 13.5 percent of the company's shipment allocated for Europe, seeking to vaccinate some 1.7 million people, La Repubblica reported.

    Separately, Italy is currently hosting phase three trials of a vaccine candidate from UK-based firm AstraZeneca, which are set to end in January 2021. A successful conclusion of that study may immediately allow another 1.5 million people to be vaccinated.

    Pfizer made headlines on Monday when it announced that it had concluded phase three vaccine trials with a 90 percent success rate.

    Italy was the first epicentre of COVID-19 in Europe and its healthcare system bore the brunt of its unimpeded spread. It was the first country outside China to impose a nationwide lockdown. Authorities have so far registered just under one million cases and 41,750 deaths from the disease.

    pandemic, Pfizer, vaccine, coronavirus, COVID-19, Italy
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