In Brandenburg, around 9,000 Brandenburgers have to wait longer for their first corona vaccination. The state will get 25 percent less vaccine from the manufacturers Biontech and Pfizer than originally planned in the coming weeks.
Therefore, the appointments agreed in the last two weeks of January in the vaccination centers in Potsdam, Cottbus and Schönefeld have to be rebooked, announced the Brandenburg Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KVBB) on Friday.
Like Brandenburg, several federal states had to change their plans. North Rhine-Westphalia temporarily suspended vaccinations in hospitals and inpatient care facilities in the middle of the week. Lower Saxony is planning to delay the first vaccinations. Appointments have also been canceled in Bavaria.
The reason is renovation work at the Pfizer plant in Belgium. Therefore, the company will deliver significantly less of the vaccine than agreed in the next few weeks. There are also problems with the planned deliveries of Astrazeneca’s vaccine to the EU. Fewer doses than expected could be sent, a spokeswoman for the pharmaceutical company said on Friday. The reason are problems in a production facility.
The vaccine is not yet approved in the EU. On January 29th, the EU Medicines Agency EMA could give the green light.
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The spokeswoman did not say how big the failures will be. “We will be shipping tens of millions of cans to the European Union in February and March and we are continuing to increase production volumes.”
Unlike the competing products from Pfizer and Biontech as well as Moderna, the vaccine remains stable at significantly higher temperatures and could therefore also be inoculated by general practitioners.
The active ingredient developed by the British-Swedish group Astrazeneca together with the University of Oxford is a so-called vector virus vaccine. Vaccines of this type have been around for a long time. The vaccines from Pfizer, Biontech and Moderna, on the other hand, work with so-called messenger RNA. This type of vaccine is new.
Astrazeneca applied for approval in the EU last week, and its active ingredient is already being administered in many other countries. So far, only the two vaccines from Pfizer and Biontech and Moderna have been approved in the EU.
In principle, the EU is negotiating the ordering of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines for all member states, but Germany had tried to get additional contracts in parallel.
For German manufacturers, including Biontech, the Federal Ministry of Science has launched a “special program to accelerate research and development of vaccines against Covid-19”, “which have promised by means of letters of intent to make additional vaccine doses available to supply the German population”, it said from the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG).
Additional Biontech vaccine questionable
However, there are problems here too. In contrast to what has been publicly communicated by the BMG so far, including on the ministry website, there is no “secure option for a further 30 million doses nationally”, but only preliminary contracts. Whether these will actually become binding is currently still being negotiated.
In order to alleviate the general shortage of vaccines, Biontech now wants to provide 50 million special syringes with which an additional dose can be drawn from the vaccine container. The company says the needles will be resold at cost. The offer is aimed at all countries worldwide.
Due to the shortage of vaccines in the EU, six servings can be drawn from the ampoule, which is actually filled with five vaccine doses. Fine dosage syringes are necessary in order to get sufficient excess.
In order to accelerate the distribution of the Astrazeneca vaccine, some EU countries had requested an earlier start of delivery. The Prime Ministers of the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania appealed to the EU institutions on Friday to approve the delivery of the vaccine before its official approval.
“The accuracy of the procedures is important. But also speed. The delays cost lives, ”wrote Jüri Ratas (Estonia), Krisjanis Karins (Latvia) and Ingrida Simonyte (Lithuania) word for word on Twitter. AstraZeneca’s vaccine is expected to be approved in late January. The Swedish-British pharmaceutical company developed the vaccine together with the British University of Oxford. In the fight against the corona pandemic, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has so far approved two vaccines for use in the EU: the preparations from Biontech / Pfizer and Moderna. (Tsp, AFP, dpa, Reuters)