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Italy's health minister says COVID vaccines to be free, distribution in Q1 2021

ROME, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Italy will launch a massive, free coronavirus vaccination programme early next year, with health workers and the elderly to be given priority, Health Minister Roberto Speranza told parliament on Wednesday.

Speranza said the government had options to buy 202 million COVID-19 vaccine shots from various companies.

Italy was the first Western country hit by the virus, registering 56,361 COVID-19 deaths since the outbreak emerged in February, the second highest toll in Europe after Britain’s. It has also registered 1.62 million cases to date. (Reporting by Angelo Amante; Editing by Crispian Balmer)

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