EU plans to start vaccinations on Dec. 27

States across the European Union will begin COVID-19 vaccinations in a matter of days - starting on December 27.

It comes as Europe tries to catch up with Britain and the United States in what some have criticized as a slow EU approval process.

The start date will be almost three weeks after the shot was administered in England.

Britain, which left the EU early this year, approved the shot for emergency use on Dec. 3.

Followed by Canada on Dec. 9 and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Dec. 11.

The world's first fully-tested COVID-19 vaccination was developed by Germany's BioNTech and U.S. company Pfizer.

As a member of the EU, Germany is obliged to wait for the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to approve the vaccine.

On Thursday, German health minister Jens Spahn said Germany will start on December 27 if the approval comes as planned before an online meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel and executives from vaccine maker BioNTech.

Italy and Austria also said they would start vaccinating on Dec. 27, the Sunday after Christmas.