Düsseldorf (dpa) – Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn (CDU) expects that the first corona vaccinations can be started around the turn of the year.
The elderly, people with previous illnesses, nursing and hospital workers, and those who maintain public order are the top priorities, Spahn said in Düsseldorf.
Some really wanted to get vaccinated first, others were concerned, Spahn said. That is why the vaccinations are “an offer”. Across the country, between five and eight million doses of vaccine are expected to be available initially – about one million of those for the most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
In addition, Germany has secured more than 60 million rapid corona tests every month. This was guaranteed by “guarantee contracts” with major producers and suppliers, according to the minister. Nevertheless, a bottleneck must first be assumed in rapid tests. “The sooner tests are available in different areas of life, the better.”
Research Minister Karliczek asked for confidence in connection with the rapid development of vaccines. Despite all the speed, testing standards remained at the high levels otherwise used in the approval of vaccines. She also announced an information campaign. The federal government will do everything it can to educate about the benefits of vaccination – as well as possible side effects. “And just to be clear: the vaccination remains voluntary. Those who get vaccinated don’t just protect themselves, they also do something for the community. “
In order to control the high number of infections, the shutdowns of many facilities imposed in November will remain in effect in December. The maximum number of customers in large stores has been more limited since Tuesday, and private meetings are now limited to five people from your own household and one other household. Children up to 14 years of age are not included. In November, meetings with up to ten people from two households were usually still allowed. From December 23 to January 1, the stricter contact restrictions will be temporarily relaxed again during the Christmas period.
The number of new infections in Germany on Tuesday was at the level of the week before. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced 13,604 cases within 24 hours, compared to 13,554 the previous Tuesday. Faster tests could be used in the future, as a new regulation from Spahn provides, which will come into force on Wednesday. In nursing homes and clinics, up to 30 tests per month and per resident or patient are possible instead of the previous 20. Rapid tests must – after an infection – be used in schools in the future, for example.
For returnees from high-risk areas abroad, corona testing should no longer be available free of charge after arriving on December 16. Rapid tests do not require samples to be sent to the laboratory for evaluation. However, these antigen tests, which medically trained personnel must perform, are not considered as accurate as other PCR tests.