Germany's risk groups and health workers to receive Covid-19 vaccine first, says Merkel
Chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken out about preparations for a Covid-19 vaccination programme in Germany, ahead of talks.
Merkel on Sunday promised first access to any approved vaccine to health workers and risk groups.
"The question of who will be vaccinated first is to be discussed with the Standing Committee on Vaccination, with the Leopoldina Science Academy and with the Ethics Commission," said Merkel in a video where she responded to public questions.
“But I think I can reveal so much that I say, that right at the front are of course nurses, doctors and people who belong to a risk group," she said. "That is quite a lot (of people) in our country."
Risk groups include older people and those with underlying health conditions.
Merkel also stressed that any available vaccine will be voluntary in Germany – not mandatory. “Nobody will be forced to be vaccinated, it is a voluntary decision," she said.
The federal government hopes that the first vaccines will be approved this year or early next year.
Preparations are already underway for the programme, with states currently earmarking potential vaccination centres.
It remains to be seen how much vaccine will be available and for how long the vaccine will provide immunity, when it is approved.
The central task is to make the population as a whole immune to the virus. If 60 to 70 percent of the population is immune – through vaccination or a past illness – the virus is "more or less defeated", Merkel said. "Then we can also lift all restrictions."
Vaccine - (der) Impfstoff
Risk groups - (die) Risikogruppen
Nursing staff - (die) Pflegekräfte
Preparations - (die) Vorbereitungen
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