BERLIN, February 10 (Reuters) – Germany will exceed its capacity limit to inject people against COVID-19 by the end of March, health ministry documents show, due to an increase in supply that is expected to test a network of vaccination centers. .
Germany has so far been short on injections as drugmakers face production problems, but the shortage is likely to diminish as deliveries accelerate, according to a revised vaccine strategy released by the health ministry on Wednesday.
The strategy update comes as German biotech startup BioNTech launches a new facility in the German city of Marburg, expecting the first vaccine made there to be distributed in early April.
The BioNTech shot, created in partnership with US drug company Pfizer, is the first to get approval for use in the European Union.
Germany also gets vaccines from Moderna and AstraZeneca. Pfizer and Moderna injections need to be frozen, while Astra injections can be stored in the refrigerator, making them suitable for administration by family doctors.
About 2.4 million people have been vaccinated in Germany, or 2.9% of the population, since vaccinations began in December, health ministry data show.
The initial shortage should give way to a more bountiful second quarter, when Germany expects to receive 77 million doses of vaccine. Chancellor Angela Merkel has promised a shot for all the adults who want it by the end of summer.
To achieve this target, vaccinations will be offered at general practitioners’ clinics, working in parallel with an existing network of more than 400 vaccination centers, the plan document said.
“It became clear that vaccination centers had to continue operating for a longer period of time, even after the doctor’s practice was involved,” he wrote.
In its plan, the German Statistical Institute for Health Care (Zi) recommended increasing the daily capacity of the vaccination center to 300,000 from 200,000 to meet the target.
According to Zi’s calculations and based on the drug maker’s dispatch commitments, Germany will be able to inject about three million people a week starting May and deliver about one million injections a day by the end of June. (Reporting by Andreas Rinke Written by Riham Alkousaa Editing by Douglas Busvine)