Lithuania expects to vaccinate 70 pct of population by summer: president

VILNIUS, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said on Friday that his country would get enough COVID-19 vaccine doses to inoculate 70 percent of its population during the first half of 2021.

"European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen assured us that Lithuania will be able to vaccinate 70 percent of the country's adult population in the first and second quarters of this year because we will receive four million vaccines during the period," Nauseda said following a virtual European Council meeting.

Describing effective mass vaccination as the big challenge facing the country, the president said he expected to achieve herd immunity by July 6.

To reach that target, Lithuania, a small Baltic country with a population of about 2.8 million, will need to vaccinate 10,000 people per day in February and up to 34,000-35,000 per day in the second quarter, according to the president.

Nauseda said he also hoped that the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines would be approved for use in the European Union (EU) soon in addition to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine already being administered.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in some countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.

Meanwhile, 237 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide -- 64 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 Jan. 15.

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