BERLIN “Germany plans to spend an additional 830 million euros ($ 872 million) on buying new coronavirus vaccines that will allow the country to deal with a number of possible variants in the autumn,” the health minister said on Wednesday.
Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said the government, via the EU, has already ordered enough of the existing vaccines and one developed by German BioNTech to counteract the omicron variant. He said the new funding is earmarked for a vaccine being developed by Moderna to tackle both omicron and other variants.
“We focus on a broad portfolio of vaccines; we must be prepared for all eventualities, ”Lauterbach said. “We do not know what varieties will meet us in the fall.”
“One lesson from the pandemic is that we will never have too little vaccine again,” he added, alluding to the slow start to the EU and Germany’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign at the beginning of last year. “We want to be able to offer all those who need or want it a fourth shot.”
However, the minister left open whether a fourth vaccine shot will be recommended to everyone, saying it will depend on which variant comes later this year.
The existing recommendation from Germany’s independent vaccine advisory panel, issued in February, calls for an additional booster for people aged 70 and over among other high-risk groups, including nursing home residents, people with immunodeficiency and medical staff.
At present, there is little demand for vaccinations in Germany, with an average of only 48,000 shots administered per day over the past week. So far, only 5.6% of the population has received another booster shot.
However, Lauterbach said vaccination centers will be kept open and allocated a maximum of 100 million euros a month in federal government funding.
Follow the entire AP’s pandemic coverage https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.