Spahn, of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union party (CDU), has said he expects the first vaccinations in Germany to be carried out before the end of this year.
“There are grounds for optimism that there will be an approval for a vaccine in Europe before the end of this year. And then we can start with the vaccinations immediately,” Spahn told the Editorial Network Germany.
He has already asked states to get vaccination centres ready for operation by mid-December.
Finance Minister and Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz, of the Social Democrats (SPD), also raised hopes for vaccinations later this year.
“We have made the preparations so that it could start in December,” Scholz told Bild. He believes that “vaccination will start sooner than we thought some time ago”.
Spahn said he's optimistic that it will not take until the end of 2021 for all groups of the population to be vaccinated.
As the Local has reported, risk groups, including the elderly and those with underlying conditions, will be vaccinated first along with health staff and other key workers.
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Spahn said some of the expected vaccines do not need special deep cooling measures. They could therefore be administered to people in regular doctors' surgeries rather than special centres.
“And then things will happen quickly,” said Spahn.
Spahn talked about the establishment of an online platform to detail the vaccination rates achieved, differentiated by age and region, which will help show authorities when Covid-19 rules can be loosened.
“Particularly when we have achieved high vaccination rates among the most vulnerable groups, we will be able to gradually ease the restrictions,” said Spahn.
According to Spahn, Germany has now secured more than 300 million vaccine doses for Germany through the EU Commission or bilateral agreements. There are around 83 million people in Germany.
“Even with two doses per vaccination, we would then have enough for our own population and could share with other countries,” said Spahn.