On Monday, the first Covid-19 vaccine was approved in the EU – according to Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens), we are now facing a “huge opportunity”. By summer, “everyone who wants it” should have the opportunity to be vaccinated in Austria, Anschober said on ZIB2.
Right at the beginning, Anschober called the vaccination a gift. In the spring, people had still dreamed of being vaccinated against the coronavirus. The goal, he said, is to achieve a vaccination coverage rate of 50 percent by summer.
Austria will start vaccinations on December 27. The 9,750 vaccine doses from Pfizer and Biontech that Austria will receive as an advance delivery will be rolled out throughout Austria “in a symbolic act.” A further 270,000 doses can be expected in January. The start will be made with vaccinations for people in old people’s and nursing homes, for health care personnel and in high-risk groups, Anschober explained.
He himself will also be “guaranteed” to be vaccinated, the health minister promised. However, he said he would stick to the official schedule and, like the rest of the general population, would not be vaccinated until April or May. When asked whether politicians should not be the first to be vaccinated in order to demonstrate their harmlessness, Anschober replied that it would make a bad impression to give politicians priority over high-risk individuals. For him personally, however, the credo applies: “The earlier, the better.”
Anschober expects the vaccine from Moderna to be approved for the market in January, and from AstraZeneca in February. Should this not happen, however, there are agreements with the EU to obtain further vaccines from Pfizer and Biontech. A total of 1.2 million doses are to be supplied in the first quarter, the health minister said in advance. Two doses are required for vaccination protection. The goal must be to reduce the risk of infection with vaccination and gradually return to normality, Anschober concluded.
Will vaccination bring an end to the CoV pandemic?
In Austria, he said, distribution and the first vaccinations will begin quickly. “Right next Sunday, the EU-wide joint vaccination launch, we will also start vaccinating in Austria.” Chancellor Kurz said today’s approval was “very positive news for all of us, especially before Christmas and at the end of this challenging year.”
Meanwhile, in light of a mutation of the virus that occurred in the United Kingdom, ÖVP Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said that, as things stand, this will not affect vaccination plans: “So far, there are no indications that our vaccination plans will be upset.”
Christmas: ‘Test, wear mask and ventilate’
Anschober called on Tuesday once again to Christmas celebrations only in the closest circle. On December 24 and 25, gatherings of up to ten people are possible, he said. “Even if this sounds inviting, we still ask you to reduce your Christmas party to a necessary number of people,” Anschober said. He advised testing in advance and during the festivities themselves on protective masks, spacing, hygiene and indoor ventilation.
Since the test offers in the provinces have recently been in high demand, and in Vienna were even fully booked before the Christmas holidays, Anschober advised quick tests from pharmacies or private providers: “These are chargeable, but in addition to a result, you also get a good conscience not to endanger your loved ones when you visit them over Christmas.”
- hp, Source: ORF.at/agencies, picture: pixabay.com
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