BERLIN — Germany’s health minister says first batches of the newly authorized AstraZeneca vaccine for will be delivered to the country’s 16 states Friday.
Jens Spahn said the addition of a third vaccine would “make a real difference” to Germany’s immunization campaign, which has so far been sluggish compared to the United States or Britain.
But Spahn said that, for now, the AstraZeneca shot will only be given to people aged 18-64, due to lack of data on older age groups.
He cited the additional vaccine as one of several positive signs for the country’s fight against the pandemic, along with the fact that for the first time in two months Germany has fewer than 200,000 people infected with COVID-19 and the nationwide number of newly confirmed cases per week has dropped to 80 per 100,000 inhabitants.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted Thursday that the target remains 50 cases per week for every 100,000 people.
Klaus Cichutek, the head of Germany’s medicines regulator, said his agency doesn’t currently recommend stretching the time period between first and second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, as practiced in Britain, where about 10.5 million people have received a first shot, compared to 2.1 million in Germany.