Status: 20.11.2021 5:20 p.m.
Health Minister Spahn was strongly criticized for his announcement to limit the BioNTech deliveries to doctors. But he defends his plans and promises everyone who wants to be vaccinated an effective vaccine.
After violent criticism of the announcement that the quantities of BioNTech vaccines would be restricted, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn defended the decision. “I know that this short-term changeover means a lot of additional stress for many committed helpers on site in the doctor’s offices and vaccination centers. And I expressly regret that,” said the CDU politician to the dpa news agency.
The demand for BioNTech has risen so strongly in the last two weeks that the warehouse is empty very quickly. In the new week alone, almost six million doses would be delivered to the vaccinating agencies. That is more than there has ever been in Germany in terms of booster vaccinations.
An overview of vaccine deliveries by the Ministry of Health also shows that Germany is expected to donate or has donated almost 8.8 million doses of BioNTech to third countries via the Covax initiative this month.
With BioNTech and Moderna there are two excellent and highly effective vaccines. There are enough of both in Germany to vaccinate 50 million people by the end of the year, said Spahn. “I can promise that anyone who wants to be vaccinated will get a good, safe, and effective vaccine.” In some studies on the effects of booster vaccinations, a third vaccination with Moderna even performed better than one with BioNTech.
Prevent Moderna Decay
Yesterday, in a letter to the federal states, the Ministry of Health announced restrictions on order quantities for the vaccine from BioNTech / Pfizer so that the preparation from Moderna can be used more frequently for booster vaccinations. Otherwise, stored Moderna cans threatened to expire from the middle of the first quarter of 2022, which must be avoided. For the time being, practices should be able to order a maximum of 30 doses of BioNTech per week, vaccination centers and mobile vaccination teams 1020 doses. There should be no upper limits for orders from Moderna.
Violent criticism from politics
The plans immediately met with criticism. Bavaria’s Minister of Health, Klaus Holetschek, called it unacceptable. Holetschek, who is also chairman of the conference of health ministers (GMK) of the federal states, now wants to put this on the agenda of the GMK deliberations planned for Monday. “That has to be discussed and resolved,” he told the dpa.
The SPD health politician Karl Lauterbach also criticized it. It was possible to know early on that the expiry date of the Moderna vaccine doses was approaching, he said on Deutschlandfunk. Distribution to other countries would have been conceivable, for example. According to Lauterbach, he does not think it is the right thing to do with the BioNTech vaccine that people trust to withhold.
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania’s Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig also reacted with incomprehension. “We all have to take a real step forward now, and for me that doesn’t mean BioNTech vaccine quota, but there should still be freedom to be able to vaccinate with Biontech or Moderna”, she said.
Green health expert Janosch Dahmen wrote on Twitter: “We shouldn’t do that! We need anything but a handbrake when vaccinating.” The BioNTech vaccine is particularly well tolerated by young people. The choice between different vaccines also plays a role in the decision for the first vaccination.
Incomprehension even among doctors
Numerous medical representatives also criticized the ministry’s plans. The President of the Lower Saxony Medical Association, Martina Wenker, pointed out restrictions on the use of various vaccines: “The main problem is that, according to the latest STIKO recommendation, we are not allowed to use the Moderna vaccine in certain groups of people. All under 30 – children, Young people and adults and also all pregnant women – must be vaccinated with Biontech, “she told the dpa.
The Bavarian Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians demanded, according to a report by “Bild am Sonntag”, that the “serious wrong decision” had to be revised. The practices would still have to be able to order all vaccines without restrictions. 30 cans of Biontech per practice per week were not at all enough to cope with the rush, said the head of the Association of General Practitioners in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Stefan Zutz, the NDR. “It would be a disaster for the vaccination campaign.”
Sharp criticism of planned limitation of Biontech vaccine
Uli Hauck, ARD Berlin, 20.11.2021 · 11:00