Berlin, 20 November 2021 (dpa/MIA) — The German Health Ministry waded into the debate about booster shots on Saturday, stressing that the vaccines produced by BioNTech and Moderna are both “safe, effective and equally suitable for booster vaccinations.”
A recent letter from the ministry to the federal states triggered criticism for advocating the expanded use of the Moderna vaccine, to avoid stockpiled doses going unused before their expiry date in the middle of the first quarter of 2022.
Caps were set on the number of BioNTech vaccine doses doctor’s surgeries and even vaccination centres could order, prompting criticism from across the political spectrum. BioNTech is a German firm, producing its vaccine in conjunction with Pfizer. The vaccine is very popular in Germany.
Saturday’s ministry statement went on to say that 50 million doses of both vaccines would be available by the end of the year for first, second and booster vaccinations. “There is enough vaccine for everyone.”
The statement also said that around 9 million doses of the BioNTech vaccine would be available in the short term and that another 15 million doses would be available by the end of the year. In addition, 26 million doses of the Moderna vaccine would be available for use as booster shots by the end of the year.
The Health Ministry’s pronouncement comes as Germany’s seven-day incidence rose to an all-time high. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced that the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants stood at 362.2 on Saturday morning.
By comparison, the figure was 340.7 the day before, 277.4 a week ago and 80.4 a month ago. Health authorities in Germany reported 63,924 new coronavirus cases to the RKI within one day.
German Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz called on German citizens to encourage people to get vaccinated and to make efforts to convince vaccine sceptics. “We should actively address those who have doubts,” Scholz said at a political event on Saturday.