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Coronavirus

Merkel Expects the First Virus Vaccine to Become Available in Germany Early Next Year

December 8, 2020

BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel expects the first coronavirus vaccine to become available in the country early next year.

The European Medicines Agency set a meeting to discuss approval for the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine for Dec. 29.

In an Monday interview with Metropol FM, a Berlin radio station aimed at Germany’s Turkish community, Merkel says the vaccine “will probably be available and approved in Europe from the beginning of 2021, according to everything we now know.”

Last month, German officials thought vaccination centers would be ready next week. Britain’s regulator became the first worldwide last week to allow emergency use of the vaccine, and immunization began Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the governor of Germany’s eastern state of Saxony has announced schools and most stores will close starting Monday until Jan. 10 after a spike in coronavirus infections. Official figures show the state has more than twice the number of infections per capita in the past week as the national average.

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