The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has made a decision on AstraZeneca’s corona vaccine. Chancellor Angela Merkel explains what this means for the German vaccination strategy.
Update from March 18, 5:12 p.m.: The decision has been made. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has just given the green light for vaccination with AstraZeneca. The EMA does not see an increased risk of blood clots from AstraZeneca vaccination. However, an extra warning of possible rare blood clots (thromboses) in cerebral veins is included in the case of possible side effects.
Chancellor Angela Merkel will comment on the decision shortly.
EMA decision on AstraZeneca: Federal government is eagerly awaiting assessment
Initial notification: Brussels – The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is currently advising on the Astrazeneca vaccine. Today, Thursday (March 18), the EU authorities are to announce whether they will continue to hold onto the preparation or not. The vaccine is currently being checked again because Germany and other countries had suspended the vaccinations because of several cases of thrombosis. In Germany, there are 13 reported cases of blood clots in cerebral veins related to vaccinations. This was announced by the Federal Ministry of Health in Berlin.
The German government is eagerly awaiting the assessment of the EU authority on the Astrazeneca vaccine. The assessment of the EMA should be binding, as the department of Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) announced on Wednesday (March 17th). In addition, the Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) and the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI) advise on the vaccine. Both Jens Spahn and the President of the PEI responsible for such approvals in Germany want to comment today on the consequences of the decision of the EU authority.
Astrazenca: German doctors assume that the vaccine will continue to be used under new conditions
The majority of German doctors assume that Astrazeneca will remain approved. However, conditions are expected. “Then there could perhaps be an approval with restrictions – for example only for certain age groups or, for example, without the simultaneous use of the pill,” said the head of the North Rhine Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KVNO), Frank Bergmann. The specialist lawyer for medical law, Alexander Ehlers, considers a general stop of the vaccine to be unlikely.
So far, the EMA has assessed the benefits associated with the Astrazeneca vaccine for the prevention of Covid-19 as greater than the risk of side effects. The World Health Organization (WHO) has already warned against hasty conclusions regarding a vaccination freeze.
Decision of the EU authority: Federal government is eagerly awaiting assessment by the EMA
Immediately after the expected EMA evaluation, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the Prime Ministers want to connect by conference call this Friday (March 19th). The next steps in the vaccination campaign in Germany are to be discussed. The schedule for a broad vaccination start in doctors’ offices should also be discussed. Health Minister Spahn temporarily stopped vaccinations with the Astrazenca vaccine on Monday. Of the 13 reported cases of thrombosis following vaccination, three were fatal. According to the health authority, those affected are twelve women and one man between 20 and 63 years of age.
The EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had emphasized that she trusted the vaccine Astrazeneca. She expects a “clear statement” from the EMA. The vaccine plays an important role in the EU vaccination strategy. The vaccine from the British-Swedish manufacturer is currently struggling with delivery problems, but the EU is targeting 70 million doses in the second quarter alone.
Astrazeneca is particularly important for vaccination strategy: Can be vaccinated without strong cooling
The particular advantage of this vaccine: Since the vaccine does not have to be strongly cooled, it could also be easily vaccinated by general practitioners. Since the start of the vaccination campaign, EU countries have been struggling with a shortage of vaccines. In the coming weeks, however, more and more people should be able to be vaccinated.
In Germany, for example, the problems of tight doses and overloaded appointment hotlines are to be resolved. The largest shipment of vaccine is expected from Biontech / Pfizer – according to previous plans, 40.2 million doses in the second quarter alone. The vaccine Astrazeneca should be there with 16.9 million doses. 6.4 million cans of Moderna were also planned.
Approval of further vaccines expected: Johnson – & – Johnson and Sputnik V
In addition, delivery of the Johnson & Johnson fabric is expected to start in the second half of April. It should be decided in May or June whether the preparation Curevac (Tübingen, Netherlands) will be approved. The Russian vaccine Sputnik V could also be approved. The state chiefs of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia made a corresponding demand in the newspapers of the Funke media group.
The current problem is clear: When it comes to vaccination, there is a race against time. The third wave of infections is imminent. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) expects exponential growth and the British mutation of the coronavirus makes severe disease more likely. Nationwide, according to the RKI, the seven-day incidence on Thursday (March 18) was 90 and thus significantly higher than the day before. (Astrid Theil / dpa)
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