After the bumpy start of the corona vaccinations, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) awakens hope for real progress and more speed. The CDU politician referred to the approval of the vaccine from AstraZeneca, which is expected on Friday, as well as other upcoming vaccines. “Every vaccine will make a difference,” said Spahn in Berlin. In Brussels, the EU Commission continued to build pressure to get larger quantities from AstraZeneca.
The product from the British-Swedish manufacturer is the third to receive conditional marketing authorization in the European Union. Experts from the EU Medicines Agency EMA finally discussed this on Friday and wanted to announce their recommendation in the afternoon (3 p.m.). The head of the Paul Ehrlich Institute, Klaus Cichutek, said in Berlin that approval is to be expected, probably with information on use in older people aged 65 and over. The data basis for this age group is somewhat weaker. Overall, however, the vaccine has “very good effectiveness”.
EU publishes contract with AstraZeneca
The EU Commission has a framework agreement with AstraZeneca for the delivery of up to 400 million vaccine doses. But the company surprisingly announced last week that it would deliver only a small part of the promised quantity in the first quarter: 31 instead of 80 million cans. Since then, the EU has been arguing with the manufacturer about how and when the full delivery will arrive.
EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen confirmed that the EU’s order was binding and not restricted: “The contract is crystal clear,” she said on Deutschlandfunk. In the meantime, the contract has been published on the website of the EU Commission with a few blackened passages. In an interview with Deutschlandfunk, von der Leyen emphasized that she required transparency and planning security from AstraZeneca.
Health Minister Spahn admitted in Berlin: “The start of the vaccination campaign was difficult.” In the meantime, according to Spahn, more than 3.5 million vaccine doses have been sent to the federal states – of which 2.2 million have been used. The goal of making an offer to all nursing home residents by mid-February is well on the way.
Even in the event that the Astrazeneca vaccine is only used in younger people aged 18 to 64, it will still be of great use from the start, explained Spahn. There are also one and two people under 65 in the priority groups. In Germany, the Standing Vaccination Commission had made it clear that the Astrazeneca vaccine is only recommended for people aged 18 to 64 due to a lack of sufficient data.
Spahn said there were also some tough weeks of vaccine shortages ahead. However, two more substances are expected to be approved in the second quarter. Including from the US manufacturer Novavax and Johnson & Johnson.
Before the planned vaccination summit this Monday, the federal government campaigned for a joint approach. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert dampened expectations that concrete resolutions can be expected. In view of considerable criticism of the slow start of vaccination and production problems at some manufacturers, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) wants to advise on the situation. The prime ministers of the federal states, several federal ministers, vaccine manufacturers and representatives of the EU Commission are to take part in a video conference.
toh / dpa