First doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine arrive in German regions

The first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine have now been delivered to all of Germany's 16 states, the country's DPA news agency has reported, ahead of the first vaccinations on Sunday

First doses of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine arrive in German regions
Vaccines are placed in storage at the central warehouse in North Rhine-Westfalia. Photo: picture alliance / dpa / State Chancellery of North Rhine-Westphalia | Mark Hermenau
Germany's health minister, Jens Spahn, at a press briefing on Saturday morning described the arrival of the first doses as a “merry Christmas message,” and called on as many citizens as possible to get vaccinated in “a national show of strength”.  
“At this moment, trucks are on the road all over Europe to deliver the vaccines,” he said. “The vaccination centres are ready to go. The vaccination teams are in place.” 
Berlin's health chief, Dilek Kalayci, said on Twitter that the first 9,750 doses had arrived in the German capital at 10.20am. 

“Even if it's still some time before we reach herd immunity against Corona reach,” she wrote in an earlier tweet. “For me today is a day of hope.” 

According to Germany's state broadcaster ARD, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state, also received its 9,750 doses on Saturday morning, with the insulated boxes then stored in a secret warehouse. 
The 9,750 doses earmarked for Bavaria were split between two warehouses, one in Erlangen and the other in Munich. 
Health officials from Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt also confirmed to ARD that they had received their doses. 
In the first quarter of 2021, German health authorities expect to receive 10m doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
Moderna, whose vaccine is expected to be approved at the start of the year, should also be able to supply 1.5m doses if its vaccine is approved as expected at the start of next year. 
At the press conference, Spahn argued that those who got vaccinated were performing a service to the nation.
“Those who take part will be saving lives,” he said.  

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‘This can be a good summer’: Half of Germans vaccinated at least once against Covid

One in two Germans have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, health authorities said Friday, before warning against complacency as the Delta variant is expected to become the dominant strain.

'This can be a good summer': Half of Germans vaccinated at least once against Covid
Jens Spahn. Photo: DPA/Carsten Koall

Some 50.1 percent of the total German population, or 41.66 million people, have now been vaccinated at least once against the coronavirus, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said on Friday.

At the same time 29.6 percent of the population now has full protection – that’s just under 25 million people.

“This can be a good summer,” said Health Minister Jens Spahn on Friday, before saying that the country needed to remain vigilant due to the spread of the Delta variant.

RKI President Lothar Wieler meanwhile warned that the numbers also showed that millions of people were still completely unprotected or only partially protected.

In order to largely dispense with the pandemic measures, the German government wants to hit 80 percent immunity – either through complete vaccination or an infection plus vaccination. 

The Delta variant, first identified in India, doubled to just over 6 percent of all new infections in Germany during the week ending June 6th in comparison with the previous seven days.

“By the autumn, it will be the dominant strain,” said Wieler.

It was “biologically logical” for the strain to become dominant simply because it was more infectious, he said.

Germany has eased most restrictions, reopening restaurants, shops, pools and museums in recent weeks as new infections dip sharply.

On Friday, it recorded 1,076 new cases, while the number of new cases over a seven day period continued to drop to 10 per 100,000 people.

Wieler said however that it was necessary to keep wearing masks indoors, such as on public transport or at offices.

“We have achieved really good results but the virus is still active and please let us give this virus no chance,” he urged.