November 15, 2020 7:22:52 am
Germany plans to set up hundreds of centers across the country in December to prepare for mass vaccination against the coronavirus, the Welt am Sonntag newspaper reported.
Citing its survey among health ministries of the nation’s 16 federal states, the newspaper said exhibition halls will play a key role in the effort with the first confirmed location in the northern city of Bremen. Discussions with the logistics industry about the distribution of the vaccine doses are still at early stages, according to the report.
Health Minister Jens Spahn has signaled that his country is looking to secure 100 million doses of the vaccine being developed by German company BioNTech and its big pharma partner Pfizer Inc., saying it’s likely to be ready in the first quarter of next year.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said in her weekly video address on Saturday that healthcare workers as well as those who demand care, including in nursing homes will be the first to receive the vaccine once it’s available. She warned the nation about difficult winter months ahead as the pandemic shows little signs of easing.
Merkel and the 16 state premiers will meet on Monday to review current partial shutdown measures, which include a ban on non-essential travel and the closure of bars and restaurants. Karl Lauterbach, a health spokesman for the junior coalition partner of the Social Democrats, told newspapers of the Funke media group on Saturday that he expects current restrictions to be extended beyond November as their impact is weaker than anticipated.
The Paul Ehrlich Institute, which is responsible for the approval of the vaccine batches in Germany, is in contact with vaccine manufacturers to fast-track the process, its President Klaus Cichutek told Welt am Sonntag.
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