10,000 doses for Austria could be ready for use this year

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The approval of Biontech/Pfizer vaccine will be decided on December 21. If it comes to pass, the first Austrians could be vaccinated shortly after Christmas.
About 10,000 doses of Biontech and Pfizer’s Corona vaccine could be used in Austria before the end of the year “in some selected old people’s and nursing homes” based on the earlier opinion of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which is expected to be available as early as Dec. 21. This was said by Covid special representative Clemens Martin Auer to the “Ö1-Morgenjournal” on Wednesday. EU chief Ursula von der Leyen, meanwhile, spoke out in favor of a joint EU vaccination launch.

On Sunday, Austria was still assuming that this first vaccine delivery would be expected at the beginning of January. The EMA explained the date, which has now been brought forward by eight days, by saying that vaccine testing was going better than expected – but media reported growing pressure from EU governments. The EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) meets on the 21st, at which point the EU Commission must give its pro forma approval so that the Belgian-produced drug can then be delivered.

Vaccination from December 28
According to Auer, the earlier approval simply means that Pfizer will deliver the approximately 10,000 doses immediately after approval due to its contractual obligation, “and it won’t be more than that” in the first round. On the 23rd or 24th, but due to holidays at the latest on the 28th of December, he expects that it will then be possible to start vaccination in Vienna and Lower Austria.

In any case, the start should take place simultaneously throughout the EU, if EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has her way: “Let’s start vaccinating together as soon as possible, together, as 27, with a start on the same day,” she said on Wednesday in the European Parliament.

In any case, the vaccines would not yet be in Austria, the EU states would, after all, “not buy a pig in a poke,” Auer indicated. In the course of January, about 230,000 doses from Biontech/Pfizer will be delivered. In accordance with the Austrian vaccination strategy, these doses will also be used in nursing homes.

Health care workers from January
The next delivery will also take place in January – 200,000 doses from Moderna. This will enable the immunization of healthcare personnel in hospitals, surgeries, etc., and of high-risk groups. The third vaccine tranche should come from AstraZeneca and is the highest, with about two million vaccine doses. This should start the second vaccination schedule phase: Vaccination for all persons over 65 and those at systemic risk in education, security, justice and critical infrastructure.

Problematic shortly before the approval of Corona vaccines is the declining willingness of Austrians to also be vaccinated: Only one in five (22 percent) currently want to be immunized for sure, one in four (27 percent) at least probably, according to the latest survey by the Gallup Institute. Willingness is declining, according to the fourth such survey.

Elsewhere, meanwhile, there is no choice at all, as at least one-fifth of the world’s population may not have access to a vaccine by 2022, according to a recent study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). The wealthier nations are said to have already reserved more than half of the potential 2021 vaccine doses for themselves, even though they account for only 14 percent of the world’s population.

  • hp, source: diepresse.at. picture: pixabay.com
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