(Corrected company name: Biontech (not: Biotech) in the third to last paragraph. In addition, the date for the vaccination summit (Monday) was added to the lead sentence.)
BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – The federal government wants to respond to the growing criticism of the vaccination campaign to contain the corona pandemic with a vaccination summit by the federal and state governments next Monday. Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) has already dampened hopes that additional vaccine doses will be made available quickly. “Even a vaccination summit will not make it so that something as complex as vaccine production takes place in the hundreds or tens of millions at once in two weeks,” he said on Thursday in Berlin. Before the vaccine from the British-Swedish manufacturer Astrazeneca was expected to be approved in the EU this Friday, the Standing Vaccination Commission announced that the preparation is only likely to be recommended for 18 to 64 year olds.
According to Spahn, the summit – a prime ministerial conference of the federal and state governments – aims to coordinate, as he made clear on Twitter. Nevertheless, there are still “at least ten hard weeks” with the shortage of the vaccine. If the number of infections falls, the corona restrictions may already be relaxed during this time.
IMPFGIPFEL: The SPD had pushed for a vaccination summit – in order to “promptly provide enough vaccines for all those willing to vaccinate”, as Brandenburg’s Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD) had demanded. Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) told the German Press Agency: “The aim of this round must be to initiate a joint national effort to accelerate the production and distribution of vaccines in Germany.” SPD general secretary Lars Klingbeil had accused Spahn of squandering trust through vaccination promises with only a short duration.
Spahn replied: “We can only gain confidence in this crisis if the federal and state governments pull together.” At the federal and state vaccination summit, the situation, the goals and the next steps will be discussed. The vaccine manufacturers should be invited to an expert discussion. “Vaccine production cannot be set up in four weeks,” said Spahn. “If that succeeds in a few months, it will be very quick.” Specifically, Spahn hopes that the planned summit will provide an overview of “which industrial partnerships already exist – and where we can still support”.
ADDITIONAL PRODUCTION: Even before the start, there is an additional production facility of the vaccine manufacturer Biontech in Marburg. Production was approved on January 15th. In the first half of 2021, 250 million cans are to be manufactured in Marburg by Biontech and its US partner Pfizer.
“Biontech is currently examining various ways of expanding production capacities by working with other pharmaceutical companies to carry out sub-steps in the manufacturing process,” wrote Spahn’s ministry last week in a 30-page response to SPD questions about vaccination. However, collaborations between Biontech and the companies Dermapharm and Baxter Oncology have already been announced. Production is planned in Halle (Westphalia).
It is also being discussed whether Biontech and Pfizer should pass on production licenses to other manufacturers. This was suggested by FDP leader Christian Lindner. The left had made this mandatory. The pharmaceutical industry was not very enthusiastic: According to the Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Manufacturers, this cannot be implemented. Because: Vaccine production is one of the most demanding in drug production.
PROBLEMS WITH ASTRAZENECA: After the preparations from Biontech / Pfizer and Moderna, a third vaccine is to be approved in the EU this Friday – that of the British-Swedish manufacturer Astrazeneca. But this is overshadowed by bad news: The vaccine is not recommended by the Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) for older people, but only for people between the ages of 18 and 64, according to the body at the Robert Koch Institute. “There are currently insufficient data to assess the effectiveness of the vaccine from 65 years of age.”
For the highly endangered group of older seniors, the Astrazeneca preparation falls flat for the time being, said Eugen Brysch, director of the German Foundation for Patient Protection. The other two vaccines should therefore be reserved for them, he said. Doctors, nurses and other prioritized professional groups should get the Astrazeneca vaccine for this.
The European Union also has a violent dispute with Astrazeneca – so far without result. Because the group had the EU instead of the expected 80 million vaccine doses for the first quarter, according to EU information, only 31 million in prospect. A crisis meeting with company boss Pascal Soriot did not bring a breakthrough on Wednesday evening. The CDU European politician Peter Liese said, however, instead of just one delivery in February, the pharmaceutical company is now considering three. The Green politician Sven Giegold called for the license of the Astrazeneca vaccine to be declared common property after remuneration for the developers. / Bw / jr / vl / vsr / DP / he