Dthe doctor who administered the injection was visibly nervous. With trembling hands he put the needle into the upper arm of the Indonesian president. Joko Widodo was the first in the Southeast Asian country to get the Coronavac vaccine from the pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech on Wednesday. He wanted to send a signal that the vaccine from China is safe. Recently, there had been confusion about the Chinese vaccine, as different test runs in several countries had come to extremely different results about its effectiveness.
With his commitment, the President gave the go-ahead for one of the largest vaccination campaigns in the world. With a population of 268 million, Indonesia is the fourth most populous country on earth. The government hopes to vaccinate 181.5 million people against the coronavirus and thereby achieve herd immunity. She sees this as the way out of the health and economic crisis. Indonesia is by far the country with the most corona cases in Southeast Asia. On Wednesday, a high of 11,278 new infections was recorded again, the total number of those already infected thus reached more than 858,000.
While there is skepticism in Europe about vaccines from China, Indonesia secured access to Coronavac at an early stage. On Monday, the national drug agency issued emergency approval for the vaccine. Of the three million doses already delivered, 1.2 million were distributed in the provinces at the start of the vaccination. Indonesia is now the first country outside of China to use the vaccine to immunize large sections of the population. Observers fear that in view of the geopolitical power competition, China could secure additional influence in the country with its vaccination diplomacy.
Indonesia is one of the states that are not in direct conflict with China, but that are certainly given headaches by Chinese ambitions for power. For China, the start of the vaccination in Indonesia is therefore a great diplomatic success, which it can now refer to to potential other interested parties in the future. It was no coincidence that Widodo also received Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in his presidential palace on the day of his vaccination.
The economy should be brought back to operating temperature
Another special feature is Indonesia’s strategy of not vaccinating the elderly and particularly vulnerable people, as is the case in most other countries, but rather people of working age between 18 and 59 years. The government is betting that the economy can be brought back to operating temperature more quickly. In addition, there is still not enough data on how safe the vaccine is, especially for older people, and how long they are protected against. At 59, President Widodo was barely qualified for the vaccination.
His doctor Abdul Muthalib later admitted to journalists that he was actually a little excited when he put the injection. In the coming weeks, 1.4 million people from the health and care sector are to be vaccinated, after which it is the turn of the authorities’ employees. The other vaccinations should then be given within 15 months. This is a pretty ambitious plan, if only because of the logistical challenges in the state, which consists of more than 17,000 islands.
The debate about the missing vaccine has now also reached Baden-Württemberg. Although most district vaccination centers are ready to go, the start of vaccination against the coronavirus is delayed.
The ongoing bottlenecks in the delivery of vaccines are now also messing up the schedule of the Baden-Württemberg vaccination campaign. In the around 50 district vaccination centers (KIZ), the first syringes are therefore drawn up a week later than originally planned. “The reason for this is the vaccine deliveries by the federal government,” said the State Ministry of Health in Stuttgart on Thursday. The country has so far received almost 170,000 vaccination doses, all of which have already been vaccinated or planned. Another shipment of 82,875 doses of vaccine is expected this weekend.
“It is not possible and also does not make sense to bunker this vaccine for a week until the start of the district vaccination centers,” said Health Minister Manfred Lucha (Greens). “We have always said: every vaccination dose that arrives here is vaccinated immediately.” It therefore makes no sense to ramp up the infrastructure in the district vaccination centers if no vaccine is available.
Lucha therefore announced more tests for nursing homes in the country. “From now on, the staff will be tested daily,” he told the “Badischer Tagblatt” (Friday). “The primary goal must be to protect the vulnerable groups as best as possible.” So far, the employees in the homes have been tested twice a week.
BW is expected to receive 692,000 vaccine doses by mid-February
According to Biontech, there will only be another vaccine to the federal government on January 18, which, according to Lucha, will be made available to the district vaccination centers on a pro rata basis. The delay of four days until the new start of the KIZ is explained by the process, said his spokesman. According to the contract, the cans would be in Baden-Württemberg on January 20, after which they would be thawed and prepared. “To be on the safe side, we took January 22nd so that there would be no problems if a delay occurs anywhere,” the spokesman said. In total, Baden-Württemberg is to receive more than 692,000 cans by mid-February.
The city of Konstanz wants to support citizens with a telephone hotline to arrange a vaccination appointment at the district vaccination center. Overstrained seniors should receive help with vaccination registration. more…
Criticism of Health Minister Spahn
In the past few days there had been broad criticism of the strategy of the federal government and also of the federal states for the procurement, distribution and injection of the vaccination doses. Opposition politicians and state politicians had accused Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) that the vaccination start was bad and that he was responsible for it. The FDP parliamentary group vice-president in the Bundestag, Michael Theurer, brought a committee of inquiry into play, the left wants to apply for a special session of the Bundestag and the Berlin coalition partner SPD does not give up its criticism of the procurement of vaccines against the coronavirus.
Freiburg / Offenburg
The two central vaccination centers in Freiburg and Offenburg in southern Baden have one thing in common: there is no vaccine. The capacities at both locations are far from being fully utilized. more…
Moderna approval does not lead to any improvement in the short term
The State Ministry of Health is not hoping for an easing in the short term with the recent EU approval of the vaccine from the US company Moderna. “It is good that another vaccine has now been approved,” said a spokesman for the Ministry of Health of the German Press Agency. This will relax the situation in the longer term. “From one day to the next, however, the Moderna vaccine does not allow any notable increase in vaccinations in the state, since deliveries to Baden-Württemberg – as in all other federal states – will probably remain at a low level,” he said.
Around 800 vaccinations are planned daily in KIZ
In Baden-Württemberg there should be a total of 50 KIZ, most of which are already ready to go. Another nine central vaccination centers (ZIZ) have been using the first syringes in Freiburg, Offenburg (Ortenaukreis), Karlsruhe and Heidelberg as well as in Rot am See (Schwäbisch Hall district), Tübingen and Ulm since the end of December. Two ZIZs are being equipped in Stuttgart, and there is also a large vaccination center in Mannheim. While the ZIZ has been operational since mid-December, it should actually start at the district level from January 15, 2021. According to the calculations of the ministry, around 800 vaccinations per day are planned for the district vaccination centers. The vaccination should also be possible by the family doctor later in the year.
Over 10,000 volunteers want to support vaccination centers
So far, over 10,000 volunteers across the country have registered to work at vaccination centers. The response was overwhelming and shows the great willingness to help in the current situation, said District President Sylvia Felder (CDU) on Thursday in Karlsruhe. The four regional councils in the state coordinate the reports and forward them to the operators of the locally responsible vaccination centers. The authorities ask the volunteers for their understanding that due to the great response and the organizational challenges involved in setting up the centers, there may be delays in reporting back. In principle, the vaccination centers will contact you directly if there is a need for support there. “However, the vaccination process will continue for a long time, so that later contact cannot be ruled out.”
So far 42,899 vaccinations in BW
As of Thursday, 42,899 people across the country had been vaccinated, according to the ministry. Most of the nationwide vaccinated were vaccinated for professional reasons, according to the Robert Koch Institute. This could be, for example, doctors and nurses with a very high risk of infection and staff in the care of the elderly. In addition, the preparation has now been administered to more than 168,000 residents of nursing homes nationwide. The vaccinations may currently also be necessary because of old age and / or for medical reasons.
Vaccination doses are withheld due to second vaccination
In Baden-Württemberg, the discrepancy between the 170,000 vaccine doses received and the more than 42,000 injected servings so far can be explained by the necessary second vaccination, for which around half of the deliveries are withheld.
“Second, it ultimately depends on the strategy,” said the ministry spokesman. “A federal state that initially relies primarily on mobile vaccination teams in nursing homes will end up having a lower vaccination rate than a country that already vaccinated heavily in centers at the beginning.” Vaccinations by mobile teams in nursing homes would have to be planned and travel arrangements organized. “It may look better at first glance in the statistics to vaccinate quickly,” said the ministry spokesman. In the end, however, it makes no difference, because the vaccine is in short supply everywhere and only what is supplied can be used.
Criticism of Lucha from the FDP
The FDP is not satisfied with this statement. Lucha always knew how much vaccine the country was receiving. “If he now claims that too little has been delivered, he just wants to distract from his own organizational overload,” said FDP parliamentary group leader Hans-Ulrich Rülke. He again suggested that the health insurance companies invite older people.
Berlin, Brussels Vaccinations against the corona virus have been in Germany for a week. Health Minister Jens Spahn had already suspected before the start: “It will jerk at one point or another.” The CDU politician should be right. Vaccination is too slow for many, other countries are making faster progress.
So far, 1.3 million doses of the vaccine from the Mainz company Biontech have been delivered to the federal states. This will initially take care of residents of old people’s and nursing homes, people over 80 years of age, as well as nursing staff and hospital staff who are particularly at risk.
On Saturday, the Robert Koch Institute announced that around 188,500 vaccinations had been reported to him. The real number is likely to be higher due to reporting delays. Many citizens and experts complain that there is not enough vaccine. But even if you – as some federal states do – set aside half of the doses for the necessary second vaccination, the entire amount has by no means been used up.
The Ministry of Health refers to the federal states that organize the vaccinations. In general, it could be due to the fact that vaccinations are primarily given in old people’s and nursing homes. The residents there are often not mobile, so that vaccination teams have to drive to the homes. This takes longer than mass vaccinations in a vaccination center. Short medical consultations are also planned before the vaccination.
The next batch of Biontech vaccine arrives on Friday January 8th. Three further delivery dates are planned for each Monday until the beginning of February. A further 2.68 million vaccine doses are to be distributed to the federal states by February 1st.
Vaccine from another manufacturer could still be added in January: The federal government expects the EU approval of Moderna’s vaccine on January 6th. “We will then quickly coordinate the exact delivery schedules for this vaccine with the EU and the company,” announced the ministry.
Minister Spahn promises on “RTL Aktuell” that all nursing home residents will be vaccinated in the course of January. “We can achieve this goal in January. And that is what we want and will achieve with the federal states. “
How do you get an appointment for vaccination?
How people over 80 who do not live in old people’s homes get their vaccination varies from state to state. In Baden-Württemberg and Schleswig-Holstein, for example, they can already book appointments for the vaccination centers by telephone, but the hotline 116 117 was reportedly difficult to reach at the start.
In other countries such as North Rhine-Westphalia, no individual vaccination appointments can yet be made. The German Foundation for Patient Protection sees disadvantages for those in need of care who live at home. Non-mobile people have simply been forgotten.
It is also still unclear how the majority of citizens will be informed later – whether all over-70-year-olds are contacted by the municipalities or insurance companies.
Has the EU Commission ordered too little vaccine from Biontech?
Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides rejects criticism. “The bottleneck is currently not the number of orders, but the global bottleneck in production capacities,” she explains to the German press agency. “This also applies to Biontech.”
Up to 300 million doses of the Biontech vaccine were ordered in November, which will be distributed to the 27 EU countries according to population. There are also framework agreements with five other manufacturers. In total, the EU has purchase rights for almost two billion vaccine doses, more than enough for the 450 million people in the EU.
The problem: So far, only Biontech / Pfizer has EU approval. So the diversity is of no use at first.
Why did the EU Commission do this?
Since it was long unclear who would be ahead in the vaccine race, the commission wanted to spread the risk. Why, when and what quantities were ordered from certain companies is not transparent – the contracts are secret.
Under the hand one can hear in Brussels: Biontech and Moderna were initially not the first choice for some EU countries, because of the new technology and because of the prices. These are also a secret, but a Belgian State Secretary recently gave a brief insight on Twitter: A dose of vaccine from Moderna costs the equivalent of around 15 euros, from Biontech / Pfizer 12 euros, from Astra-Zeneca only 1.78 euros.
Did the EU bet on the wrong vaccines?
The SPD politician Karl Lauterbach criticizes that Europe has only bought a small amount of the Moderna vaccine, namely 160 million doses. “It was clear very early on that the Moderna vaccine had a very strong effect and could be used in general practitioners’ practices,” said Lauterbach of the “Rheinische Post”.
Because of the small amount, the Moderna vaccine is unlikely to play a major role. In contrast, the EU Commission agreed with Astra-Zeneca to purchase up to 400 million cans in August and hoped for delivery before the end of the year. Then there were setbacks in tests. The so-called Oxford vaccine has now achieved emergency approval in Great Britain. In the EU, the product could possibly be the next one to hit the market a few weeks after Moderna.
Can the EU get more from Biontech?
Probably yes. Biontech boss Ugur Sahin told the German press agency that there was “advanced discussions” about additional deliveries. So more than the 300 million cans ordered. They are working with the EU to expand production capacities.
In “Spiegel” he pointed out difficulties: “But it is not as if specialized factories were standing around unused all over the world that could produce vaccine of the required quality overnight.” It would not be clear until the end of January whether and how much can be additionally produced.
When will there be enough vaccine for everyone?
“The situation will improve step by step,” promises Health Commissioner Kyriakides. In mathematical terms, the amount of the three products ordered by the EU from Biontech / Pfizer, Moderna and Astrazeneca – a total of 860 million doses – is sufficient for all expected vaccinations in Europe: 60 to 70 percent of the population with two syringes each. As soon as all three have EU approval, the supplies should get going. Nevertheless, the vaccination campaign will take months because it will only be delivered in stages.
Why does Germany rely on procurement via the EU and not buy it itself?
Health Minister Spahn emphasizes that Germany consciously chose the European route. A race of the 27 for the scarce vaccine would have meant a new fuel for the EU, and large Germany would certainly have been attacked for ousting small and less affluent countries.
“Europe is networked and we will get out of this crisis together the fastest,” says Kyriakides. “Germany is also very interested in this.” In addition, there is the market power of the EU Commission. It gets good prices because of the large quantities. According to media reports, the US is said to have paid $ 19.50 each for the first 100 million doses of Biontech vaccine, the equivalent of around 16 euros. According to Belgian information, in the EU it was 12 euros.
More: Follow the current developments in our Corona news blog
Dhe medical union of the Marburger Bund is calling for an extension of the hard lockdown in view of the situation in the hospitals. The burden of caring for Covid 19 patients continued to rise over the holidays, said union chairman Susanne Johna to the newspapers of the Funke media group. The clinics have no breathing space.
“The health system urgently needs relief that can only be achieved by extending the measures to restrict contact. Otherwise we will not get the situation under control, ”said Johna. In addition, more and more patients in the intensive care units and infection wards have to be cared for with fewer and fewer staff because hospital staff are also infected with the virus. This extreme workload cannot be shouldered permanently.
She would therefore like the conference of prime ministers on Tuesday to have an “extension of the contact restrictions as uniformly as possible,” said the Marburger Bund chairwoman. Hopes of a quick relaxation of the situation due to the start of the corona vaccination, Johna dampened: “Despite all optimism, it must be clear to us that the vaccination can hardly be expected to reduce the risk of infection, at least in the first three months of the new year.”
The doctor rejected proposals to change the corona strategy and only protect risk groups: “The more than 20 million people of old age or with previous illnesses can only be consistently protected if the transmission of the virus to the entire population decreases. “
According to the “Rheinischer Post”, the president of the Association of Intensive Care and Emergency Physicians, Uwe Janssens, does not expect lasting relaxation in the intensive care units until the summer. “We intensive care physicians urgently advise against any easing of the prospect of an incidence of less than 25 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants per week,” he said. “We won’t see in the hospitals until the end of next week how much Christmas has contributed to the spread of Covid-19. The effects of New Year’s Eve even later. “
Economic experts are also warning of easing
The President of the Medical Association, Klaus Reinhardt, told the “Bild” newspaper that one had to make it clear to people that “we are now two, three or four months ago, which will require everyone’s efforts”.
Economic experts are also warning of easing. “For the economy, it must have top priority that the second wave of infections is limited as quickly as possible,” said the President of the German Institute for Economic Research, Marcel Fratzscher, of the “Augsburger Allgemeine”. “Economic easing now may benefit some in the short term, but it would harm everyone in the long term.”
Lauterbach considers the opening of daycare centers and primary schools to be possible
A reopening of daycare centers and elementary schools from the second half of January is, according to the opinion of the SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach, possible under certain conditions. “The prerequisite would be that all other grade levels would be divided and receive alternating face-to-face and digital lessons. Or face-to-face teaching is completely suspended, ”said Lauterbach of the Düsseldorf“ Rheinische Post ”(Saturday).
“If all schools open again like they did before the holidays, we run the risk that we will not even reach the incidence value of 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants per week despite lockdowns,” he warned. “So that would be a big mistake.” It has been scientifically proven that children from the age of twelve are just as contagious as adults.
The new infection value of 50 is the target agreed by the federal and state governments. Below this, the pandemic is considered manageable. The national average is currently over 140. The state premiers want to discuss with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) on January 5 how the nationwide lockdown will continue after January 10. Before that, the ministers of education will discuss the situation in schools on Monday.
Rapid approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine needed
In view of the shortage of vaccines, Lauterbach pushed for faster approval of the active ingredient from the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and, if necessary, brought about a German solo attempt. He also thinks it is right to start with a single vaccination for all available vaccines: “This would probably prevent a lot of serious cases in the next twelve weeks,” said Lauterbach.
The health expert criticized the lack of vaccine doses. It is very unfortunate that Europe “has bought so little of the expensive American vaccine from Moderna”. It was clear very early on that the Moderna vaccine was very effective and could be used in general practitioners’ practices: “That would not be a disadvantage now,” said Lauterbach. “Even more Biontech vaccine would not have been wrong.” One had probably hoped too much for later and perhaps cheaper vaccines. “If Germany itself or the EU had ordered more Biontech vaccination doses from the start, we would be much further ahead,” said Lauterbach.
Approval of Moderna vaccine expected next week
In response to allegations that the federal government had to order more of the Biontech vaccine, the health expert of the Greens parliamentary group, Kordula Schulz-Asche, pointed out in the “Welt” (Saturday) that the Biontech vaccine was only in the test phase in the summer has been.
The federal government expects up to 12 million doses of the only approved vaccine from the manufacturer Biontech / Pfizer, with which six million people could be vaccinated, for the first quarter. In addition, she expects the approval of the preparation from Moderna already next week. Immunization of at least 50 million people is considered necessary for a victory over the pandemic in Germany.
Athens, Paris, Madrid, Stockholm, Rome Even the weather plays a role in Italy’s perfectly orchestrated vaccination start: Just before nurse Claudia Alivernini steps in front of the dozen TV teams, the sun bathes the facade of the National Institute for Infectious Diseases in a warm light. “The vaccination is a small gesture,” says the 29-year-old, who has been fighting the virus on the front lines for months and has now received one of the first injections. “Do it everyone, it’s an act of love and responsibility!”
Right here in Rome, where the first corona cases were treated with two tourists from Wuhan in January, the country is beginning to free itself from the grip of the virus. And with Italy together the entire continent: In almost all EU countries, the largest mass vaccination in history started on Sunday, in Hungary, Slovakia and Saxony-Anhalt even a day earlier.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called Europe’s “V-Day” (Vaccine Day), on which the first doses of the vaccine developed by Biontech and Pfizer were injected, a “touching moment of unity”. Brussels wants to vaccinate a large part of the population by the summer. But the question is whether the citizens participate: In some places there is great skepticism about vaccinations.
Imposing pictures could possibly increase the popularity. In Italy, only 9750 vaccine doses arrived in two cardboard boxes. But the transporter from Belgium, where the vaccine is manufactured in a Pfizer factory, was escorted by the police like otherwise only heads of state. In any case, the country has a tendency towards symbolism: the vaccine is not only to be distributed in 300 hospitals, but also in 1,500 pavilions that look like a pink primrose – designed by star architect Stefano Boeri.
The army steps in
The first vaccinations are given to employees in the health sector, residents of old people’s and nursing homes and the staff there. Then comes the risk group of over 80s. The army is helping with the logistics; the 470,000 cans per week are also to be distributed by air. In Italy, which of all EU countries was hit hardest by the pandemic, the willingness to vaccinate is relatively high: More than half of Italians want to be vaccinated.
In Greece, the 113 inhabited islands are a challenge. The civil protection authority uses the logistics concepts of the milk processors for distribution, who use sophisticated cold chains to bring fresh milk to the most remote corners every day.
The armed forces are making speedboats and helicopters available to implement “Operation Freedom” in the 1018 vaccination centers. The first injection was given to Evstathia Kabisiouli, a nurse in the intensive care unit at the Evangelismos Hospital in Athens. President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis were also vaccinated directly.
They want to be a role model, even if their willingness to vaccinate has improved: Only 27 percent of those surveyed express concerns or reject a vaccination. Three months ago the rejection was 42 percent. By the end of March, older people over 60 and other risk groups should be vaccinated. By the end of June, 60 percent of Greeks could be immunized.
“Today is a historic day that donates a little light after a dark year,” said Stefan Löfvén. The Prime Minister of Sweden was connected to the home resident Gun-Britt Johnsson via video switch – the 91-year-old had received the first vaccination nationwide in Mjölby. At the beginning, people over 80 years of age are vaccinated, then hospital and nursing staff. This is followed by previously ill people.
Refusals are listed in the vaccination register
From next week around 80,000 cans will reach Sweden, which has chosen a special route without lockdown from the start. In the meantime, however, in view of the very high number of infections and deaths, those responsible have also realized that this path – recommendations instead of bans – has failed. In the neighboring countries of Denmark and Finland, which also vaccinated on Sunday, lockdowns were decided early on – and the number of infections is significantly lower than in Sweden.
The 96-year-old resident of a senior citizens’ home in the city of Guadalajara was one of the first to be vaccinated in Spain. “Let’s see if we all behave well and make the virus go away,” she said. There are 50 vaccination centers nationwide that are not mentioned for safety reasons. Not all of them have the necessary freezers for the Biontech vaccine.
Spain is expected to receive 350,000 cans per week. First of all, residents of retirement homes and their carers and doctors are vaccinated. Then it is the turn of the nursing staff in hospitals, followed by the rest of the medical staff. Around 2.5 million people should have been vaccinated by March.
Vaccination is voluntary, but refusers are listed in the vaccination register. On V-Day, the willingness to get vaccinated increased: In November, 47 percent of Spaniards said they did not want to be immunized immediately, but rather wait. In December that percentage fell to 28 percent.
France was a little later than the rest of Europe: TV stations initially showed pictures from Italy and Spain, and the vaccinations in the René-Muret hospital in Sevran near Paris only began at eleven o’clock. Ten people over the age of 75 and a doctor were immunized. Few people wanted to be filmed, politicians did not appear.
In January, vaccinations will first take place in the country’s 7,000 old people’s homes. By the end of February, around one million people over the age of 75 and employees in the health sector over the age of 65 as well as high-risk cases are to be protected.
Meanwhile, the willingness of the French to vaccinate is declining. According to a survey by the state health authority, 53 percent of French people wanted to be vaccinated at the beginning of November; in mid-December it was only around 40 percent.
More: The big vaccination begins: These are the most important questions and answers about the start of the corona vaccination