Nearly two weeks after most European countries, the Netherlands today (Wednesday) began its Korna vaccination program, and nursing home and hospital staffs were first in line to receive the shot. Sneh Al-Qadiri, a nurse in a nursing home for dementia patients, was the first to receive a shot from the Pfizer and Biontech vaccine at the Mass Vaccine Center in Vogel, 120 km southeast of the capital Amsterdam.

The Dutch government has come under sharp criticism for starting vaccines late. Prime Minister Mark Rutte told parliament yesterday that authorities had focused on preparations for the easy-to-use vaccine developed by Oxford University and Astraznica, which has not yet been approved for use in the EU, rather than the Pfizer vaccine.

Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jong did not address the criticism when he spoke before Al-Qadiri rolled up the left sleeve of the purple media to get the first shot out of two. Instead, he expressed hope that the virus would now be brought under control.

"Finally, after ten months of crisis, today we are starting to end this crisis," De Jong said. However, he warned that "it will take time for all the suffering to be behind us."

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