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VACCINE

101-year old woman first to get vaccine in Germany

A 101-year-old woman in an elderly care home became the first person in Germany to be inoculated against coronavirus on Saturday, a day before the official vaccination campaign was scheduled to get underway in both Germany and the EU.

101-year old woman first to get vaccine in Germany
Edith Kwoizalla, a resident at a care home in Saxony-Anhalt was the first person in Germany to get the vaccine on Saturday. Photo: picture alliance / dpa / dpa-Zentralbild | Matthias Bein
Edith Kwoizalla was one of around 40 residents and 10 staff in a care home in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt to receive a jab of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the home's manager Tobias Krueger told AFP.
   
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine became the first to get the go-ahead for use in the West, when Britain gave its approval on December 2.
   
As other nations from the United States to Saudi Arabia to Singapore followed suit, Germany impatiently prodded the EU's drugs regulator, the European Medicines Agency, to bring forward its decision from December 29.
   
The EMA finally gave its green light more than a week early, on December 21.
 
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On the same night, the European Commission declared that the entire bloc would start the inoculation operation from Sunday, December 27.
   
“For us, every day counts,” said Immo Kramer, a vaccination centre official for the region, told MDR public television.
 
   
On Saturday, tens of thousands of vaccine doses were delivered to the regional health authorities, who then distributed them to local vaccination centres.
   
Elderly care home residents, people aged 80 and over and care staff will be the first to get the jab.
 
Edith Kwoizalla was one of 40 residents at the home to get the jab. Photo: picture alliance / dpa / dpa-Zentralbild | Matthias Bein
 
German Health Minister Jens Spahn called it a “day of hope”.
   
“The vaccine is an essential key in conquering the pandemic,” he told a news conference. “It is the key that will allow us to take back our lives,” but he warned that getting everyone immunised would be a “long-haul” effort.
   
Germany, which appeared to fare relatively well in the first wave of coronavirus in the spring, has been hit hard by a second wave.
   
According to the latest data compiled by the Robert Koch Institute, a total 14,455 new infections have been reported in the past 24 hours, and 240 new deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities so far to 29,422.

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VACCINE

‘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.

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