Status: 11/22/2021 7:07 p.m.
Corona vaccine should be available in abundance – but can everyone who wants BioNTech’s vaccine for vaccination or booster also receive it? The manufacturer’s delivery commitments at a glance.
BioNTech remains the vaccine that Germans ask for the most. According to the Ministry of Health, 90 percent of all orders from countries and practices have recently been for this vaccine. And demand is increasing from week to week, according to Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn. Today and tomorrow, a total of six million cans from the Mainz manufacturer would be delivered. “That has to be inoculated now,” said the minister.
Nevertheless, Spahn is increasingly promoting the vaccine from Moderna. According to some vaccinating doctors, the vaccine from the manufacturer BioNTech and Pfizer is the “Mercedes”, and that from Moderna is the “Rolls-Royce,” said the CDU politician. Both vaccines are very safe and effective. The fact that Spahn is so committed to the US manufacturer’s vaccine has a lot to do with the expected vaccine deliveries: In December, the Ministry of Health expects more vaccine doses from Moderna than from BioNTech.
What distinguishes Moderna from BioNTech
The active ingredients Comirnaty from BioNTech / Pfizer and Spikevax from Moderna are almost identical in terms of their effect and tolerability – and both use mRNA technology. However, they differ in terms of storage: Comirnaty can be stored for up to nine months at minus 90 to minus 60 degrees – and undiluted in the refrigerator at 2 to 8 degrees for a maximum of another 31 days, including the time for thawing and transport.
The vaccine from Moderna, on the other hand, is stored at less extreme temperatures of minus 25 to minus 15 degrees and, according to the manufacturer, can be stored unopened for seven months under these conditions. Storage in the refrigerator is then possible unopened for 31 days, 12 hours of which can be used for transport.
Studies have also shown that vaccine responses are very low with both vazkines. For both vaccines, a general vaccination recommendation of the Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) for people aged 12 and over has been in effect since August. However, the STIKO recommends limiting the use of Moderna to the age group from 30 years, because the risk of heart muscle and pericardial inflammation is higher in younger people after vaccination with Spikevax than after vaccination with Comirnaty from BioNTech / Pfizer.
BioNTech warehouse is emptying rapidly
According to the information so far, 32 million cans from the US manufacturer should arrive in Germany, but only 11.2 million cans from BioNTech. Due to the existing stocks and deliveries this week, around 24 million vaccine doses from BioNTech would be available by the end of the year – with around 30 million first, second and booster vaccinations expected. Originally there were more, because in November alone 8.75 million BioNTech cans are to be donated to third countries via the COVAX initiative.
So can’t everyone who wants to be vaccinated be supplied with BioNTech? Spahn admitted that the BioNTech warehouse “empties so quickly that we will temporarily no longer be able to provide more than two to three million cans per week from next week”. So more Moderna should be used. BioNTech could also be used more for vaccinating children in the future. A decision by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on the approval of the vaccine for children between the ages of five and eleven is expected soon.
50 million cans by the end of the year
In any case, there should be enough vaccine for everyone who wants to be vaccinated or boosted. With the 43 million doses that were supposed to be delivered in December alone and the seven million doses of BioNTech and Moderna that are already in stock, there are a good 50 million doses of mRNA vaccine available, according to the Ministry of Health.
BioNTech also wants to expand deliveries to Germany beyond the agreed quantity. The company is currently checking whether and, if so, how many cans can be delivered at short notice and in addition, said a company spokeswoman. The “Bild” newspaper reported that BioNTech was ready to deliver ten million vaccine doses to Germany at short notice. This can still be done in November and December by rescheduling deliveries to other countries. Minister Spahn BioNTech announced before the health ministerial conference that BioNTech would deliver one million doses early in the coming week.
Only mRNA vaccines left
According to the Charité expert Leif Erik Sander, the vaccines from BioNTech and Moderna are equally suitable for basic immunization and boosting. Cross-vaccination with both substances is also safe and well tolerated, said the head of the research group for infection immunology and vaccine research at the Charité in Berlin. The Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEID) also rates the corona vaccines from Moderna and BioNTech as equivalent. Its efficiency is more than 90 percent, said institute president Klaus Cichutek in Berlin.
The two so-called vector vaccines Vaxzevria from AstraZeneca and Janssen from Johnson & Johnson are no longer vaccinated in Germany. Therefore, the entire delivery of the 26.6 million cans Johnson & Johnson, which is expected in the fourth quarter in this country, will be donated to third countries. The 14 million cans of AstraZeneca that Germany ordered for the fourth quarter are also to be passed on in full to third countries.