Health Minister Anschober expects corona vaccine for all in the second quarter of 2021

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Following the supply agreement between the EU and the pharmaceutical companies BioNTech and Pfizer, Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens) is optimistic that it will be possible to vaccinate risk groups and health workers against the coronavirus in the first quarter of 2021. “I assume that the other interested population can then be vaccinated step by step from the second quarter onwards. We are currently preparing the vaccination logistics for this,” he explained in a press release on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Health has emphasized that the vaccination should first be administered to those people who are at greatest personal or systemic risk. On the one hand, this concerns the staff in health and care facilities, and on the other hand, those people who have a personal risk of suffering a severe course of disease or dying from a Covid-19 infection, the office of Anschober referred to the elderly population over 70 years of age and members of risk groups.

“Low-threshold access to vaccination”.
“We will provide low-threshold access to Covid-19 vaccination. It will be given where people work, live or stay,” it continued. It is expected that vaccination will not only be carried out in the usual places, but also by mobile vaccination teams, for example. However, the possible vaccination sites will also depend on the characteristics of the vaccines – for example with regard to storage.

The ministry is currently developing a national vaccination strategy in close cooperation with the National Vaccination Board and in line with the EU vaccination strategy. This strategy must be continuously adapted to new findings and can only be finalized when one or more vaccines have actually been approved, it was said.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) will decide on the exact time of delivery. “For me, safety is in the foreground. It is therefore important to guarantee that approval procedures are carried out in full,” Anschober emphasized in the mailing. “The first approvals could be granted around the turn of the year,” he expected. “Austria has played a major role in ensuring that the procurement of the Covid 19 vaccine is not a national effort but a joint European effort. This strengthens us in Austria enormously”, the Minister praised the European cooperation.

The exact vaccination strategy and logistics are still being prepared in Austria. The Chamber of Pharmacists called for timely planning and offered itself as a partner. “The pharmacists here, with their decades of experience in vaccination campaigns, should be involved in vaccine management from the very beginning, so that an orderly distribution of the Covid 19 vaccine is ensured,” emphasized Gerhard Kobinger, member of the presidium of the Austrian Chamber of Pharmacists. The largest vaccination campaign the country has ever seen is imminent.

On Wednesday, the Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry (Pharmig) was “confident that we will start the year 2021 with an effective weapon against the currently rampant coronavirus,” as Pharmig Secretary General Alexander Herzog announced in a press release. “However, the euphoria should not hide the fact that the active substances currently being researched still have a lot of tests to pass,” explained the association representative. “Even if positive results are now already being seen in a very short time, the speed of research into an effective new vaccine is not at the expense of safety,” Herzog assured.

— Hector Pascua, with reports from diepresse.at. Picture: pixabay.com

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