Berlin, 6 May 2021 (dpa/MIA) – Any adult in Germany could soon get a coronavirus vaccination from their personal physician, regardless of what priority group they are in, so long as the jab is from AstraZeneca.
The prioritization sequence that regulates who can receive a coronavirus vaccine will no longer apply to the AstraZeneca doses under a plan drawn up by Health Minister Jens Spahn and announced on Thursday.
The nationwide scheme, which still needs final approval, could help Germany get more shots in arms, more quickly.
Spahn’s plan would codify at the federal level similar actions already taken by states to loosen restrictions on the administration of the AstraZeneca shot.
For instance, in Berlin, eligible residents over the age of 60 are already able to get the AstraZeneca jab from general practitioners. In contrast, the vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna require an appointment to be made through a city vaccination centre, often with a weeks-long waiting time.
The country’s vaccination drive started in late December but took months to accelerate due short supplies.
But the pace has quickened recently and some 7.1 million people, or 8.6 per cent of the population, are currently fully vaccinated, while 30 per cent have had at least one injection.
AstraZeneca has been in the headlines again and again as it battled questions about the safety of its vaccine following a few cases of rare blood clots. But health regulators have stressed the overall safety and efficacy of the shot, saying any risk is far outweighed by the benefits.