DECRYPTION – To silence the critics, the executive wants to make up for lost time.
Criticized for its lack of anticipation on vaccination, the government is trying to catch up with its ignition delay. Since the start of vaccination in France on December 26, 2020, only 138,000 people were vaccinated Monday evening, according to the Directorate General of Health. That is to say more than 110,000 health professionals and 28,000 residents in nursing homes, said Tuesday the vaccination “task force” set up within the Ministry of Health, which will now take stock every Tuesday. A figure far below the neighboring countries.
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Even on the simple transparency of the figures, the executive, which had undertaken to provide a daily count, was not ready: the number of vaccinated region by region was not published until Monday evening. “This table will now be published every evening“, Olivier Véran promised Tuesday.
The objective is to vaccinate “1 million people in January and 14 million by the summer ”. The strategy first targets nursing homes; vulnerable people with disabilities in the home; the
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The main difference concerns the storage conditions.
And two. Since yesterday, France has a new weapon against Covid-19 with the delivery of the first batches of Moderna’s vaccine, a week after its validation by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and barely more than fifteen days after the release of the Pfizer / BioNTech Comirnaty. More than 50,000 doses will be sent to the Grand Est, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Paca, regions most strongly affected by the epidemic at present, announced the Ministry of Health. The target audiences (over 75 years old, nursing home residents, disabled people in specialized establishments, caregivers, firefighters and home helpers over 50) can now expect to be vaccinated either by one or the other. other vaccine. The differences are indeed minimal, at least in terms of technology, efficiency and side effects.
The minimal differences are due to vaccine engineering, each team having sought in its own way to make the protein produced more visible by our immune system.
Dr Nicolas Manel, virologist immunologist at Institut Curie
Like Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna has developed a messenger RNA vaccine targeting the Spike protein located on the surface of Sars-CoV-2.
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AThe first dose of Pfizer Biontech vaccine alone reduces the risk of infection by a third from the thirteenth day after vaccination. This is the result of a preliminary study by the largest Israeli health insurance company, Clalit.
Political correspondent for Israel, the Palestinian Territories and Jordan based in Tel Aviv.
The study compared two hundred thousand first-vaccinated people with two hundred thousand as yet unvaccinated Israelis over sixty years of age. Accordingly, there were no differences until the twelfth day after vaccination of the first group. But then 33 percent less of the first vaccinated people were infected with the coronavirus than the people without vaccination.
So far, around 1.9 million people in Israel have been vaccinated with a first dose of the Pfizer Biontech vaccine, which has already made such a study possible. “These are preliminary but encouraging results,” said Ran Balicer, a professor of medicine who works for Clalit and is a member of the government’s advisory board, to the newspaper Jediot Acharonot on Wednesday. Balicer emphasized that the study results “do not indicate full protection against infection, not even seventeen days after receiving the (first) vaccination”.
High infection rates in Israel
On Tuesday, the Israeli Ministry of Health announced that 17 percent of the currently seriously ill patients had previously received a first vaccination. According to doctors, these people no longer receive a second dose of vaccine. The department head for public health in the Ministry of Health spoke on television that a first Pfizer Biontech vaccination would even reduce the risk of infection by around fifty percent 14 days after the first vaccination, but also emphasized that these are preliminary data.
While vaccinations in Israel are making significant progress in an international comparison and people over the age of fifty will be vaccinated from Wednesday, the rate of new infections in the country has risen to a temporary high. On Wednesday, more than nine thousand new infected people were reported for the second day in a row.
A total of half a million Israelis have or had been infected with the virus. With a good nine million inhabitants, these numbers represent a multiple of the infection rates in Germany, for example. 3770 Israelis died in the course of a Covid infection. The Corona Commissioner of the Israeli government Nachman Ash announced that the already tightened exit restrictions could be extended for another week.
Pfizer-Biontech has reportedly initially shipped around four million doses of vaccine to Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally received another delivery of an additional 680,000 cans at the airport on Sunday. Netanyahu said he had agreed with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla that the pharmaceutical company would send more vaccines to Israel “to vaccinate Israel’s adult population by March.” That same month, Israel will vote.
The channel Kan reported on Tuesday, without referring to any sources, that Israel was paying Pfizer-Biontech and the manufacturer Moderna $ 47 for two vaccine doses, apparently significantly more than the European Union, for example. In addition, Israeli government officials have announced that they will be sharing health data and efficacy studies with vaccine manufacturers who, in return, supply the country particularly quickly.
Dhe EU Commission is making every effort these days to counter the criticism of its “vaccine strategy” with good news. On Friday, head of the authorities Ursula von der Leyen announced the EU order of an additional 300 million (and thus a total of 600 million) doses of the vaccine from Biontech and Pfizer. On Tuesday, the EU chief negotiator, Sandra Gallina, who was responsible for negotiations with the manufacturers, once again announced good news in the European Parliament’s health committee. The Swedish-British manufacturer Astra-Zeneca has now also applied for approval of its vaccine from the EU Medicines Agency Ema. Gallina said she expected approval on Jan. 29. She also reported on the conclusion of preliminary negotiations with the Franco-Austrian manufacturer Valneva with the aim of ordering 30 million fixed doses of its vaccine and another 30 million as options.
The EU has also concluded similar preliminary negotiations with the American manufacturer Novavax. Firm orders and options are planned for each 100 million cans. In addition, there is an order for a total of up to 2.3 billion doses – partly fixed, partly as an option – from six manufacturers: Biontech-Pfizer (up to 600 million) and Moderna (160 million), whose vaccine has already been approved, as well as Astra- Zeneca (400 million), Johnson & Johnson (400 million), Curevac (405 million) and Sanofi (300 million).
This order volume has long been sufficient for every EU citizen. For a quick vaccination, however, the speed of delivery is crucial. With regard to the Biontech vaccine, the Brussels authority has so far calculated rather cautiously that the order of 600 million cans will be processed by the end of the year. However, Biontech announced on Monday that by then one could not only produce 1.3 billion, as previously calculated, but 2 billion cans.
For the EU order, this should mean that the vaccine can be delivered faster than planned – even if neither side wants to commit to dates. According to information from the commission, it also plays a role that, according to an Ema decision last week, six and not just five doses per ampoule can be vaccinated if special needles are used.
Ordered more than the United States
The Commission is also hoping that Astra-Zeneca will be able to produce relatively quickly after approval. Its vaccine development appeared to be furthest advanced by autumn. There was then a setback in the clinical trial phase, but this has now been resolved. The vaccine is already being administered in Great Britain. The vaccines from Johnson & Johnson and Curevac are hoped to be approved in Brussels by April at the latest.
It is not only because of this positive news that the discussion about the EU’s alleged vaccination failure has calmed down. It also turns out that – contrary to what it was accused of last week – the EU is not actually ordering less of the Biontech vaccine than the United States. The United States had already ordered 500 million cans in the summer, but only 100 million of them were fixed, the rest as options. EU orders started later but now amount to the aforementioned 600 million, of which 500 million are firm.
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Berlin In Germany there is a growing vaccination gap between the federal states: Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is by far in the lead with a vaccination rate of a good 1.5 percent of the population, in contrast, in neighboring Lower Saxony this value is only around 0.5 percent. In Saxony-Anhalt around one percent of people have been vaccinated against Corona, in Saxony and Thuringia only half as many.
The implementation of the largest vaccination campaign in the history of the Federal Republic is a matter of the state – and the different speeds are mysterious. There is no clear pattern, neither geographically nor politically. Some countries in the east vaccinate quickly, others don’t. Some SPD-led governments are setting an above-average speed, others are acting slowly.
Even experts lack a conclusive explanation
Whether the Federal Ministry of Health, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the Standing Vaccination Commission or the SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach – nobody seems to be able to give a conclusive explanation why the vaccination mission is evidently making better progress in some regions. But there are indications that some local administrations have prepared less than optimally.
Example of Lower Saxony: The “Spiegel” reported that several Lower Saxony districts had failed to send a secure e-mail address to the Ministry in Hanover. This address was necessary for the access data to the vaccination registration system. Officially, the Lower Saxony crisis team sees no organizational problems. “For us, safety comes before speed,” they say.
The statement before Christmas was clear. Christoph Berger, President of the Federal Commission on Vaccination, said:
The topic is relevant as there are many skeptics about the novel mRNA vaccines. That of the Pfizer / Biontech duo has already been approved, and Moderna’s corona vaccine should also soon receive the green light in Switzerland. Astrazeneca’s vaccine, which is based on an older mechanism of action, is unlikely to be approved before the end of January.
How Martin Bäumle wants to get vaccine skeptics on board
In Germany, the city of Berlin is now advancing. “Citizens should have the freedom to decide which vaccine they will be vaccinated with,” said Berlin Health Senator Dilek Kalayci at the weekend. The city wants to offer only one vaccine at a time, depending on the vaccination center. When making an appointment, the Berliners could determine which of the approved means they get, Kalayci told the television station RBB.
In Switzerland, bourgeois politicians in particular can warm up to the idea. “I am in favor of the possibility that those willing to vaccinate can choose from the various corona vaccines,” says Martin Bäumle, National Councilor of the Green Liberals. Even if I personally prefer the mRNA vaccines, I can understand the skepticism about the novelty of the vaccine. “If people have the freedom to choose, we can increasingly bring vaccination skeptics on board,” says Bäumle.
There is currently a lack of sufficient vaccines
Of course, the question of feasibility arises, especially with logistics. In addition, it is not yet clear when, which vaccine will be available in Switzerland and in what amount, says Bäumle. Logistics shouldn’t be a hurdle, these are solvable problems, says SVP National Councilor Thomas de Courten. The goal must be to achieve the highest possible vaccination coverage. This can be promoted with the freedom of choice, says the Basel bidder.
BDP National Councilor Lorenz Hess is skeptical: “Before the general security of supply with the vaccines is not guaranteed, we should not rush ahead with the issue of freedom of choice.” If you want to do this seriously, it is administratively and logistically demanding. In addition, Hess wonders how well those willing to vaccinate are actually able to judge which vaccine is the right one for each person.
SP National Councilor Flavia Wasserfallen shares the concerns. “In view of the small amounts of vaccine we are currently not in a position to enable freedom of choice.” There are currently more people willing to vaccinate than doses, so the question does not arise, says the Bernese woman. Like de Courten, she is a member of the National Council’s health commission.
Great logistical effort with freedom of choice
If it turns out that one of the available vaccines is favored by the population, this question could be raised again later. For Councilor of States Maya Graf (Greens), speed has priority. Now the priority is to vaccinate older people and members of the risk groups. The freedom of choice entails a great logistical effort, which could slow down the vaccination campaign.
In the meantime, Christoph Berger, President of the Vaccination Commission, doesn’t sound that absolute anymore. “At the moment we are still in the situation that there are many more people willing to vaccinate than doses.” The commission does not assume that you can vote in Switzerland. In the vaccination centers and hospitals, one vaccine is available and not several.
After all, in contrast to the Pfizer / Biontech product, the Moderna vaccine can be used by general practitioners because the former does not have to be cooled as much. “If resourceful people who want to vaccinate then go to the family doctor or the vaccination center or hospital, then that’s the way it is,” says Berger. When the Moderna vaccine is approved this week, two will be available. Since the two are equal, the question of freedom of choice does not yet arise anyway.
The vaccinating specialist decides which vaccine is administered
At the moment, you cannot choose between vaccines, says a spokeswoman for the Federal Office of Public Health. Depending on the properties of the vaccines, these different target groups are recommended, for example particularly vulnerable people. Which target group can be vaccinated and when is specified in the vaccination recommendations. These would be drawn up by the Federal Office in cooperation with the Vaccination Commission.
The vaccinating specialist decides which vaccine is suitable in terms of effectiveness and tolerability. The spokeswoman says that the right vaccine will be selected for each person.
There is currently no freedom of choice in other countries either. In the US it depends on the state. As far as can be seen, however, those willing to vaccinate cannot decide which vaccine to receive. In Great Britain there is also no freedom of choice, as a spokesman for the responsible Ministry of Health and Social Affairs said on request. This is also not possible in Israel, which has so far vaccinated the most people.
Police come across private coffin storage in Hamburg
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Officials make the unusual find in an empty drugstore. It is possible that the owner wanted to do a deal with the coffins during the Corona period, which luckily did not materialize.
FA find in Harburg causes frowns among the Hamburg police. The officers had been called to a supposedly empty drugstore because residents had noticed a strange smell there. The police noticed this too and had the door opened. The source of the smell was quickly found; a marijuana plantation had apparently been harvested recently. The officers also found around 30 coffins in the premises. The police assume that these have been stored there since spring, possibly in the macabre hope of being able to do business with them in the Corona period.
Fortunately, the situation in the Hanseatic city has never developed so dramatically. Even after Christmas and New Year’s Eve, there can be no talk of exponential growth, the confirmed infections with the coronavirus level off at a high level, however, on Sunday they increased by 211. That is 142 less than on Saturday, but 79 more than on Sunday a week ago. As the health authority further announced, the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants remained almost unchanged in the past seven days at 154.9. A week ago the seven-day incidence was 127.2.
According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), 817 people have died in Hamburg in connection with the corona virus, 25 more than on Saturday and 156 more than a week ago. According to the health authority, 555 corona patients were treated in the Hamburg hospitals on Friday. There were 105 people suffering from Covid-19 in intensive care units.
According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), around 10,000 people in Hamburg have so far been vaccinated against the coronavirus, and the increase was recently around 1400 people per day. The number of people vaccinated per 1000 inhabitants in the Hanseatic city is 5.4, which is a value below the national average. According to the RKI, this is 6.4. The values available to the authorities of the individual federal states can be significantly higher than those reported by the RKI, as the reports are sometimes transmitted to the institute with some delay.
At first little Moderna vaccine
In Hamburg, too, the vaccine still only arrives in droplets, but deliveries are expected again in the new week. However, only 8,000 doses of the new product from Moderna are to be delivered by mid-February, which is enough for 4,000 vaccinations. Moderna only wants to deliver 10,000 cans to the Hanseatic city in the last week of February. Hamburg already set up a vaccination center in the fair in December, in which up to 7000 people could be vaccinated a day.
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The Tübingen vaccine company Curevac is taking the Bayer Group on board in order to advance the development and sale of its corona vaccine faster and more safely. The cooperation between the two companies sends a positive signal in many respects – for vaccine supply as well as for Germany as a pharmaceutical location.
Bayer will not be able to accelerate the project directly, but it will undoubtedly provide Curevac with valuable support in terms of clinical studies, regulatory issues, approval processes and sales, and possibly also in production.
The deal also deserves applause as a German pharmaceutical manufacturer finally allies itself on a larger scale with a local biotech company. Such German-German alliances have so far been rare.
In the past, only foreign pharmaceutical giants such as Roche, Pfizer, Lilly or Glaxo-Smithkline were interested in domestic biotech start-ups and their research. This, in turn, tends to result in know-how and added value migrating. In the case of the cooperation between Curevac and Bayer, the added value remains in the country.