Tuesday, 09 Mar, 9.51 am Republic TV

Germany Ramps Up Use Of AstraZeneca COVID Vaccine To Boost Inoculation Drive

Germany has begun ramping up the use of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine after the officials last week approved it to be administered to people age 65 and over. According to the Associated Press, Germany has received nearly 2.1 million doses of the AstraZeneca shot. However, due to the restrictions on who could get the vaccine and misgivings among some of those who were eligible for it, the country has only administered 721,000.

Now, to ramp up the inoculation process, on March 8, a new vaccine centre has opened at the discussed Tempelhof airport, Berlin. The centre will administer only the AstraZeneca vaccine and starting with 200 appointments, the operator of the centre hope to rapidly scale up and administer as many as 3,300 shots daily from March 23. Berlin's top health official, Dilek Kalayci has also informed that some general practitioners in the capital will also begin vaccinating people with chronic conditions this week.

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While speaking to public broadcaster ZDF, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said that he expects the country to be able to administer up to 10 million shots a week by the end of the month. It is worth noting that according to the official figures, around 2.5 million people in Germany have so far received the full two shots. The push to vaccinate faster, on the other hand, comes as Germany takes further steps out of lockdown, with more students returning to school and some businesses and cultural venues reopening.

COVID-19 outbreak in Germany

Since the outbreak erupted in the country, there have been 2,512,907 reported coronavirus cases and over 72,053 fatalities. In the latest development, elementary students in more than half of Germany's 16 states were allowed to return to school earlier this week after more than two months at home, the first major relaxation of the country's pandemic measures since before Christmas. Kindergartens also reopened their doors for pre-school children, giving much-anticipated relief to stressed parents trying to juggle working from home and childcare during the lockdown. The move was agreed at a meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and state governors two weeks ago and stuck to despite signs that the decline in case numbers seen in the country is flattening out again and even rising in some areas.

(Image & inputs: AP)

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