Vaccine deliveries now at weekly intervals

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One week after the arrival of the first 10,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine from Biontech/Pfizer on St. Stephen’s Day, the next partial deliveries are scheduled for next week. As the Ministry of Health announced on Saturday, about 60,000 doses of the vaccine will be delivered weekly in January. In addition, next week the approval for the vaccine of the U.S. pharmaceutical company Moderna and thus a second vaccine is expected.

If the European Medicines Agency (EMA) gives the green light for the Moderna vaccine on January 6, as expected so far, Austria can thus obtain another 200,000 vaccine doses in addition to the million Biontech/Pfizer doses that are expected for the first quarter, according to a statement from the Ministry of Health. Moderna’s vaccination will thus “also be important for Austria.”

As far as the only vaccine approved to date is concerned, there has been “very positive feedback” not only from other EU countries, according to the Ministry of Health. The Pfizer/Biontech vaccine has so far also shown “very good tolerability in thousands of trial vaccinations in old people’s homes and on Covid wards throughout Austria.”

Delivery via 17 distribution centers
These vaccinations will continue in the coming week in numerous other nursing homes and homes for the elderly in the provinces. This is also to gain further experience in logistics, procedure and implementation. From Tuesday, January 5, according to the ministry, the process of registering the vaccine requirements by the authorized management of the nursing homes and the Covid 19 wards in the e-shop of the Bundesbeschaffung GmbH (BBG) will also begin.

Based on these requests, delivery will be made through 17 distribution centers throughout Austria, “thus ensuring the necessary cautious handling of the vaccine and preparing for rapid nationwide simultaneous vaccination throughout Austria starting January 12.”

Meanwhile, at the European level, Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides defended the vaccine strategy that has been followed so far. “The bottleneck at the moment is not the number of orders, but the global shortage of production capacity,” Kyriakides said, in light of earlier criticism that the EU Commission had ordered too little of the only vaccine approved to date.

“The situation will improve step by step,” Kyriakides promised. He said the commission is also ready to support the expansion of production capacity. In addition, he said, other vaccines are on the verge of EU approval. “For the fact that in the fall of 2020, no one could say for sure which vaccine would even succeed, the EU is doing very well with its selection of vaccine manufacturers.”

German company Biontech also recently responded to reports of a possible vaccine shortage in Germany and other EU countries. It is “in advanced discussions on whether and how we can provide additional vaccine doses from Europe for Europe this year,” company CEO Ugur Sahin said Friday in response.

  • source: orf.at/picture: pixabay.com
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