Germany to begin vaccination against coronavirus before end of year
London, Oct. 23, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Germany is making preparations to start vaccinations against the coronavirus before the end of the year, Bild daily report on Friday.
The Health Ministry plans to create 60 special vaccination centres to ensure the vaccines can be stored at the proper temperature and has asked the country’s 16 federal states to provide addresses for them by November 10, Bild reported without citing its sources.
At a video conference earlier this week, Health Minister Jens Spahn, who himself tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday, said Germany’s BioNTech was close to getting a vaccine approved, Bild cited participants as saying.
Asked when he expected the first vaccinations, Spahn replied: “That could happen before the end of the year,” participants told Bild.
BioNTech is developing its vaccine in partnership with Pfizer Inc.
Last month, Germany awarded $745 million (569.66 million pounds) in funding to biotech firms BioNTech and CureVac to speed up work on COVID-19 vaccines and expand German production capacity.
On Tuesday, Pfizer and BioNTech announced the start in Japan of combined Phase I and Phase II clinical trials of their mRNA-based vaccine candidate against the coronavirus.
Their US vaccine trial could yield initial results as soon as later this month.
Germany’s infection rates have been accelerating.
Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases on Thursday reported more than 11,200 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours and the organization expressed grave concern as the virus threatened to spiral out of control.
It is the first time since the start of the pandemic that more than 10,000 new cases in Germany were recorded in a 24-hour period and the second time in a matter of days that the country has reported a new daily high.
“The situation has become very serious overall,” Dr. Lothar Wieler, head of the RKI, said.
Germany is now registering more than 50 infections per 100,000 people over a one-week period. The so-called seven-day incidence rate, which is used by authorities to decide when to tighten restrictions, is currently at 56 for the entire country, according to RKI data.
The spike in cases has prompted officials to introduce tougher measures on public life to stem the spread of the virus.
At a press conference on Thursday, Wieler once more stressed the importance of adhering to Germany’s rules for curbing the pandemic — social distancing, hand-washing, masks and frequent airing of interior spaces. He also repeated warnings on holding private parties, saying these appeared to be one of the main sources of infections.