The first shipments of millions of doses of the vaccine developed against the dominant version of the new type of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), the omicron, may arrive in Germany at the beginning of September, Der Spiegel reported on Monday based on data from the Federal Ministry of Health.
According to the news magazine, the head of the ministry, Karl Lauterbach in the circular sent to the organizations participating in the vaccination campaign, he wrote that the European Commission can issue the marketing authorization for the vaccines developed against the virus variant called omikron BA.1 on September 1 or 2. In this way, the first such products, the new vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, can be included in the vaccination campaign in Germany as well. Approximately ten million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will arrive in two weeks from September 5, and a shipment of 2.38 million doses of the Moderna vaccine is expected.
Products with an EU license are immediately distributed through the pharmaceutical wholesale system. The first orders will be available from September 5 according to the ministry’s planned schedule. Karl Lauterbach pointed out in the circular that it is not the omikron BA.1 virus variant, but the omikron BA.5 variant that causes most infections in Germany.
At the same time, the vaccines developed against BA.1 are much more effective against BA.5 than the “first generation” vaccines used so far, which “may be a decisive factor” in the protection of highly vulnerable groups. Therefore, doctors and general practitioners should encourage people to administer the new preparation, the minister pointed out, adding: we must not forget that approximately one hundred deaths in Germany are still occurring every day, which are related to the disease caused by the virus (Covid-19).
In collaboration with the German BioNTech and the American Pfizer, a vaccine tailored to omikron BA.5 and another variant, omikron BA.4, has already been prepared, and the two companies expect the European Commission at the end of September or beginning of October can also issue a license to distribute the product. Germany will receive 9.5 million doses of the new vaccine shortly after the EU license is issued, but the members of the high-risk groups should not wait until then to receive the vaccine, underlined the Minister of Health.
According to Monday’s summary of the federal government, 76.3 percent of the population – 63.4 million people – have the full vaccination against Covid-19. 62 percent – 51.5 million people – received the first booster vaccination after full vaccination, and 8.6 percent, i.e. 7.2 million people, received the second booster vaccination, which is considered the fourth vaccination. The unvaccinated make up 22.1 percent of the population, there are 18.4 million. Four million of them are children under the age of four who do not yet have vaccines.
According to the Robert Koch Public Health Institute (RKI), more than 32 million infections have been registered in Germany since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in the spring of 2020. The number of deaths related to Covid-19 exceeds 147 thousand.
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