Lauterbach announces early Moderna delivery

Status: 16.12.2021 4:07 p.m.

For the Minister of Health, the booster vaccination is the number one tool in the fight against the omicron variant. According to Lauterbach, Moderna wants to deliver 35 million vaccine doses earlier so that the vaccination campaign does not stall.

The number of corona infections is falling nationwide – but not fast enough, especially with regard to the omicron variant of the virus, warn Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach and the head of the Robert Koch Institute Lothar Wieler. The “main tool” in the fight against the pandemic and the new variant is and will remain the booster vaccination, emphasized Lauterbach.

But at the moment there is a threat of a shortage of the required vaccine doses, especially in the first few months of the coming year. With the cans currently in stock, the booster campaign would not be completed until March, the SPD politician warned: “This is clearly too slow.”

Moderna guarantees earlier delivery

That is why his ministry has been working since Saturday to get additional vaccine – and he has already reported an initial success, according to Lauterbach: the manufacturer Moderna has promised to deliver 35 million vaccine doses ahead of time. In addition, the Ministry of Health is in negotiations with other EU countries, including Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, in order to obtain vaccine from there.

The vaccination campaign should not be slowed down by a lack of vaccine, warned Lauterbach. Germany has also reserved a “large tranche” of further vaccination doses from BioNTech / Pfizer. A large part of these vaccine doses can be expected to be delivered in the first quarter of 2022, but the entire vaccine will not be delivered until later in the year. A large part of these vaccine doses will already have been adapted in terms of their effectiveness to the Omikron variant, Lauterbach added.

“A question of time before Omikron takes over”

RKI President Wieler also emphasized that Delta is currently still the dominant Corona variant. But it is only “a matter of time before Omikron takes over”. Omikron is already expanding rapidly in Great Britain and Denmark. A few hundred cases are currently known in Germany, but Omikron has already occurred in all federal states.

There is still much that research cannot assess about the new variant, said Wieler. For example, “whether Omikron makes less or more sick” and how well a vaccination protects against a serious or even fatal course.

Booster increases vaccination protection significantly

Nevertheless, Wieler also urged vaccination, because it has been proven that the protection of a double vaccination already begins to wane after two months. With a third vaccination, it would be increased again to 70 percent and more, Lauterbach also emphasized.

But vaccination alone is not enough from Wieler’s point of view. At the same time, other corona measures would have to be observed, such as wearing a mask, ventilating rooms, keeping your distance – and above all, reducing your own contacts.

Christmas shouldn’t be a “kickstart” for Omikron

Here Wieler looked at the upcoming Christmas days and warned: “Christmas must not be a kick start for Omikron.” He appealed to the population to only meet in small groups and always with the same people. You should define this circle now. Relatives or friends who come together with people belonging to a risk group should also have a vaccination tested beforehand. “The holidays must not become a festival for the virus,” warned Wieler.

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