World Germany looks to AstraZeneca shot to boost vaccine rollout
Once a darling of the pandemic, Germany now has more than 1 million vaccines unused in storage
"We are working quite hard on this and trying to convince people to accept the vaccine and really to rebuild the trust in the vaccine," one official said.Once hailed for its coronavirus response, Germany has administered just 15 percent of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine it has received, the country's health ministry said in a briefing Wednesday.
BERLIN (AP) — Germany has begun ramping up the use of the coronavirus vaccine made by AstraZeneca, after authorities last week gave the green light for it to be administered to people age 65 and over.
Hundreds of thousands of doses have been gathering dust in storage in recent weeks because of the restrictions on who could get the vaccine and misgivings among some of those who were eligible for it. Germany has received 2.1 million doses of the AstraZeneca shot so far, but administered just 721,000, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
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Last week, the country's independent vaccine committee said new data showed the AstraZeneca vaccine was effective in older groups too, prompting a swift changes of rules by the government, which has come under criticism for the slow rollout of anti-COVID-19 shots compared to Britain and the United States.
A new vaccine center opened Monday at the disused Tempelhof airport in the heart of Berlin will administer only the AstraZeneca vaccine. Starting with 200 appointments, operators of the center hope to rapidly scale up and administer as many as 3,300 shots daily from March 23.
Only a quarter of the doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine received in France have been used
© Copyright 2021, L'Obs The Ministry of Health recognizes the “problem” of under-consumption of this vaccine but is counting on the extension of its use by town doctors and for 65-75 year olds with co-morbidities to sell stocks. Vaccination against Covid-19 in France continues to skate.
Some general practitioners in the capital will also begin vaccinating people with chronic conditions this week, said Berlin's top health official, Dilek Kalayci.
Finance Minister Olaf Scholz told public broadcaster ZDF that he expects Germany to be able to administer up to 10 million shots a week by the end of the month. That would be twice as many as Germany has managed to do since vaccination started at the end of December.
According to government figures, around 2.5 million people in Germany or about 3 % of the population, have so far received the full two shots.
The push to vaccinate faster comes as Germany takes further steps out of lockdown this week, with more students returning to school and some businesses and cultural venues reopening, albeit only for those who have booked appointments in advance.
Silvia Firat was among the first to get the vaccine at the Tempelhof site. The 40-year-old Firat, who works in elderly care, said she had initial misgivings about the AstraZeneca vaccine after hearing that some recipients develop strong reactions after receiving the shot.
But when she got an invitation, she chose to go ahead with it, partly to set an example for others.
“I can only recommend doing it," Firat said. “Every injection we get has some side effects, some more, some less.”
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The U.S. passed the milestone of administering more than 100 million Covid-19 shots. California said 13 counties can ease restrictions, including opening restaurants and movie theaters to 25% capacity. Michigan will begin vaccinating all people 16 years and older starting April 5. © Bloomberg A healthcare worker administers a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine to a farmworker at a vaccination clinic organized by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department at Christopher Ranch in Gilroy, California, U.S., on Thursday, March 4, 2021. Farmworkers have been one of the hardest hit communities since the start of the pandemic.