Pfizer Stock – Germany catches up with U.S. in vaccination drive
BERLIN, June 30 (Reuters) – Germany has caught up with the United States in terms of the proportion of the population havinghad oneshot of COVID-19 vaccine, the health minister said on Wednesday, adding the more infectious Delta variant meant it was important to keep up the pace.
The German government came under fire for the sluggish start to its vaccination campaign earlier this year, particularly in comparison with countries such as the United States, Britain and Israel, but it has since ramped up quickly.
Minister Jens Spahn said 55% of the population had now received a first vaccine, while 37% has had both shots.
“The United States got off to a fast start and today Germany has caught up for the first time with first vaccinations. That shows that the vaccination campaign needs staying power,” Spahn said on Twitter.
“Given the Delta variant, it is important that as many people as possible get vaccinated.”
More than a third of all virus samples tested in Germany are of the Delta variant, the Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases said, adding that it was likely to make up half of all new infections from this week.
Spahn said on Saturday that supply of vaccines in Germany would soon outstrip demand, which would allow it to offer shots to passers-by in city centres or at places of worship. read more
The health ministry plans to buy 204 million vaccine doses for next year, Handelsblatt newspaper reported – significantly more than is needed for Germany’s 83 million population. The ministry said having spare doses would help prepare for variants or the need for refresher doses.
Three-quarters of Germans are against compulsory vaccination, a survey by the Forsa polling institute for RTL television showed on Wednesday, while 22% are in favour.
The number of coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 808 to 3.728 million on Wednesday, while the death toll rose by 56 to 90,875.
Reporting by Emma Thomasson, additional reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Alex Richardson and Alison Williams
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.