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VACCINE

Denmark ‘lends’ Germany 55,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses

Denmark is to give 55,000 doses of its AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to the neighbouring German state of Schleswig-Holstein after dropping the jab from its vaccination programme amid concerns about side effects.

Denmark 'lends' Germany 55,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses
Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

“Following a request from the minister-president of Schleswig-Holstein, the government has decided to put 55,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine at the disposal of the border regions,” the Danish foreign ministry said in a statement.

“The vaccine doses will be returned upon an agreed timeframe,” it added.

Denmark was the first country in Europe to suspend the use of AstraZeneca’s jab in its vaccination rollout in March, after reports of rare but serious cases of blood clots among those who had received the vaccine.

The Danish Health Authority announced on April 14th it was dropping the vaccine from Denmark’s vaccination programme altogether, citing “a potential cross-reaction between the vaccine and a low platelet count.”

It said the decision was “contextual”, noting that “the majority of the population at risk has been vaccinated and the epidemic is under control.”

Denmark is continuing its immunisation campaign using the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, but said it might re-introduce the AstraZeneca jab at a later date “if the situation changes”.

The country has a stockpile of some 200,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Germany, which has recommended the AstraZeneca vaccine only for people aged 60 and over, is struggling to rein in a third Covid wave.

The World Health Organization and Europe’s medicines watchdog have meanwhile recommended that countries continue using the Anglo-Swedish shot, insisting it is safe and effective and that the benefits outweigh the risks.

READ ALSO: Denmark ’in dialogue’ over swap for AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines

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CULTURE

‘People liked the silence’: How Berlin’s club scene is struggling after lockdowns

Berlin's clubs are suffering from staff shortages, a lack of guests... and neighbours who've grown used to the silence, representatives for the scene say.

'People liked the silence': How Berlin's club scene is struggling after lockdowns

Some operators from Berlin’s club scene are bracing themselves for a difficult autumn. For months now, people have been allowed to dance again and life has returned to normal in the dark corners of Berlin’s famous nightlife scene.

But the clubs have far from recovered from the pandemic. They face staff shortages, rising prices and the prospect of a return to Covid restrictions in the autumn.

“We go into the autumn with huge fear, because the omens are totally unfavorable,” said association head Pamela Schobeß.

Spring and summer went anything but smoothly, she said. “There has been an oversupply of events. People aren’t going out as much, and some are still afraid to move around indoors.”

Money is also an issue. “A lot of people are afraid of rising energy prices.”

The industry lost workers during the pandemic and it’s hard to convince them to come back with the outlook for the autumn looking so gloomy, Schobeß says.

Her colleague Robin Schellenberg tells a similar story. People have switched to various other jobs and would even rather work on a supermarket checkout, which may have been considered less sexy in the past. Now, he says, some have learned to love not having to work nights.

READ ALSO: 

Schellenberg runs the Klunkerkranich, a small club on a parking garage deck in Neukölln. Because a number of things have become more expensive, they have also had to increase their admission prices.

His impression is that people are going out less often and are deciding more spontaneously. In addition, people in the neighborhood are now more sensitive to noise. “Many people found the silence very enticing,” he said.

Some in the industry wonder what will happen next. Will club admission have to become much more expensive? Will that exclude people who can no longer afford it? And what happens if Covid infection numbers rise sharply?

If masks become mandatory indoors in October, Schobeß believes that would be bad for the clubs. “Even if we don’t get shut down by the state, we’ll actually have to close down independently ourselves,” she reckons.

Masks take all the joy out of the experience, she says. People have drinks in their hands and are “jumping around and dancing” and then security guards have to tell them “please put your mask on.”

The federal government is considering whether states should be able to make masks mandatory indoors starting in October. Exceptions should be possible, such as at cultural and sporting events, for people who have been tested, recently vaccinated and recently recovered.

In the event that Covid numbers soar, the states could then be allowed to tighten the rules and eliminate all exemptions.

READ ALSO: German court declares techno to be music

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