Germany to start coronavirus vaccination before April 2021, health minister says
While Germany is still waiting for its researchers to develop a coronavirus vaccine, Health Minister Jens Spahn predicted on Monday that a vaccination drive was just months away.
“As things stand today, October 12, I assume that we would be able to start in the first quarter of next year,” he said.
He emphasized the vaccination would be voluntary. German authorities plan to start the vaccination effort withhigh-risk groups, such as people who suffer from preexisting medical conditions, the elderly, health care workers and nursing home employees.
WhileRussia registered a coronavirus vaccinein August, the announcement was met with skepticism from scientists across the world. The US, China and several other countries are also pursuing their own versions of the vaccine. Last month, the WHO said it would not endorse any vaccine before it can be proven to be safe and effective.
In September, both Spahn and German Research Minister Anja Karliczek expressed hope that vaccinations would start in the first months of next year. Speaking via video-link to the Ifo economic research institute on Monday, Spahn said he stood by this prediction. He also appeared unconcerned about vaccine shortages, pointing tomany rival projectsto develop the product.
“If all horses reach the finish line, we will have way too much vaccine,” he said.