Shot yourself in the foot! Germany shamed as only 15% of AstraZeneca vaccines used

Angela Merkel 'stuck to EU rules' on vaccine rollout says expert

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Angela Merkel’s government has been forced into a massive climbdown and is urging people to trust the vaccine, insisting it is safe and effective. It comes after the effectiveness of the jab in those over the age of 65 was questioned – despite the European Medicines Agency giving it the green light. Just 240,000 doses of the 1.54 million doses received have been used and the health ministry is now offering the jab to a wider range of priority groups after saying earlier this week that public sector workers such as teachers and police would get priority access.

As long as vaccines are as scarce as they are, you can’t choose what you want to be vaccinated with

Angela Merkel

Ms Merkel described the Anglo-Swedish drug giant’s vaccine, which some essential workers have refused, as “a reliable vaccine, effective and safe.”

She said: “As long as vaccines are as scarce as they are at the moment, you can’t choose what you want to be vaccinated with.”

But there was an angry backlash on social media when it became clear public mistrust of the vaccine stemmed from ill-informed comments from European leaders as the roll-out got underway.

One critic tweeted: “Public scepticism was created by some German politicians and media.

“Coupled with Macron’s idiocy, it seems to me they shot themselves in both feet and of course it’s the people who suffer.”

Another said: “It’s such a shame. This will be costing lives and they have been so irresponsible.”

And another said: “So much for German efficiency. That’s put a dent in their reputation as being well organised and effective.”

In another blow to the German roll-out, officials said they expect to receive 16 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in April, May and June less than half of the amount they had been promised across that three-month period.

Delivery volumes to the EU are expected to be at half the level AstraZeneca had agreed to supply in the second quarter.

In total, Germany was expecting 56.3 million doses from AstraZeneca under the EU contract, which is equal to 18.7 percent of 300 million doses ordered by the EU.

Ms Merkel has warned that new variants of Covid-19 risk a third wave of infections in Germany and said the country must proceed with great care so to avoid a new national lockdown.

The number of new daily infections has levelled off over the past week with the seven-day incidence rate hovering at around 60 cases per 100,000.

Germany reported 8,007 new infections and 422 further deaths today.

Ms Merkel said: “Because of new variants, we are entering a new phase of the pandemic, from which a third wave may emerge.

“So we must proceed wisely and carefully so that a third wave does not necessitate a new complete shutdown throughout Germany.”

Ms Merkel and state premiers in Germany have agreed to extend restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus until March 7.

Hair salons will be allowed to reopen from March 1, but the threshold for a gradual reopening of the rest of the economy targets an infection rate of no more than 35 new cases per 100,000 people over seven days.

The Chancellor said vaccines and comprehensive testing could allow for “a more regionally differentiated approach”.

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Ms Merkel said: “In a district with a stable incidence of 35, for example, it may be possible to open all schools without causing distortions in relation to other districts with a higher incidence and schools that are not yet open.

“An intelligent opening strategy is inextricably linked with comprehensive quick tests, as it were as free tests.

“I cannot say exactly how long it will take to install such a system. But it will be in March.”

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