Berlin The acting Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn (CDU) has denied allegations to withhold vaccine from Biontech-Pfizer from citizens for booster vaccinations. “We’re not holding anything back,” said Spahn on Monday in Berlin. But the demand for Biontech has risen sharply and cannot be served in the near future.
Spahn’s ministry had announced in a letter to the federal states that the order quantities for the vaccine from Biontech-Pfizer would be limited for the next few weeks. This was justified, among other things, by the fact that vaccination doses in stock from the US manufacturer Moderna threatened to expire.
Spahn said the approaching expiration date is an important aspect, but not the crucial one. Today and tomorrow, six million doses of the Biontech vaccine went from the warehouses to the supply. But next week you won’t be able to provide more than two to three million Biontech cans.
He felt and understood the anger of the doctors who had promised their patients a Biontech vaccination, said Spahn. But Moderna’s vaccine is also “a good, safe and very effective vaccine”, of which 16 million doses are immediately available.
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By the end of the year, 24 million doses of Biontech and 26 million doses of Moderna would be made available – a total of around 50 million doses with just under 30 million booster vaccinations that they want to achieve by the end of the year. “There is enough vaccine for all upcoming vaccinations and both vaccines are working,” said the minister.
According to Minister Spahn, the Biontech vaccine for five to eleven year olds is expected to be approved by the European Medicines Agency (Ema) at the end of this week. The vaccine will then be delivered in the European Union around December 20.
According to the CDU politician, Germany receives 2.4 million cans. “That should initially cover most of the demand,” said Spahn. In this country there are 4.5 million children in this age group. There will be further deliveries in early 2022.
Spahn does not believe in a general compulsory vaccination
The President of the Paul Ehrlich Institute, Klaus Cichutek, emphasized in the joint press conference with Spahn that one is sitting “in Germany in a land of milk and honey”. Both mRNA vaccines are highly effective and safe and approved for booster vaccinations. He therefore considers it an “inappropriate discussion” to argue now about why Moderna cannot be replaced by Biontech.
The head of the research group for infection immunology and vaccine research at the Berlin Charité, Leif Erik Sander, also emphasized that two good vaccines are available: “We absolutely have to accept this gift.” Citizens could “take what is there with peace of mind “. Sander said the steeply increasing incidence and the dramatic situation in the clinics were due to the low vaccination rate.
The immunologist promoted booster vaccinations, which significantly strengthened the immune memory and ensured longer-lasting protection than the two-time vaccination. Sander emphasized that at the moment it was not yet possible to conclusively say whether the citizens would then be permanently protected with the third vaccination. At this point in time, he does not want to rule out an “occasional boost”.
The acting Federal Minister of Health expressed himself skeptical about the debate about the introduction of a general compulsory vaccination. The traffic light parliamentary groups and the federal-state group decided to introduce a facility-related vaccination requirement for daycare centers or nursing homes, for example. And of course his ministry will work out a corresponding bill, said Spahn.
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