Status: 07.09.2021 01:06 p.m.
There is no longer any shortage of vaccines in Germany – not even if there should soon be massive booster sessions and vaccinations for smaller children. Other countries benefit from the surplus.
Even if many people in Germany have recently become less willing to vaccinate, deliveries from vaccine manufacturers will peak in the current quarter: a good 105 million doses from the four manufacturers approved in Germany are expected by the end of September. That is significantly more than in the second quarter; At that time, 74 million doses were distributed in vaccination centers and doctors’ offices.
BioNTech / Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson plan to deliver a total of 313 million cans to Germany alone by the end of the year. That is only around ten million less than the federal government had planned in January. At that time, however, the planners also expected deliveries from the Tübingen-based manufacturer CureVac, whose vaccine had previously been approved due to its low effectiveness and was therefore not used.
In a European comparison, Germany is only mediocre
However, it is not yet possible to say with certainty whether the deliveries will actually arrive, as the forecasts are often fraught with considerable uncertainty. This is shown by the example of the British-Swedish company AstraZeneca, which had to repeatedly revise its commitments downwards due to production stoppages. The pharmaceutical company recently agreed with the EU Commission to deliver 135 million doses by the end of the year and another 65 million in the first quarter of next year.
It is unclear where the vaccines are used; AstraZeneca’s Vaxzevria vaccine is rarely administered. If so, it is primarily given to people over 60 years of age, but most of them are fully vaccinated – 83 percent in Germany.
By September 5, Germany had received 114.2 million doses of vaccine, of which 103 million (90 percent) had been administered, mostly (more than 80 million) from BioNTech / Pfizer. This means that 50.8 million people or 61.1 percent of the population are fully vaccinated. The vaccination rate is even higher in Spain (72.3 percent), Portugal (76 percent), the United Kingdom (65.2 percent) and Italy (63.5 percent). According to official figures, France also overtook Germany last weekend.
Only 23 percent of teenagers vaccinated
Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn is therefore calling for a “joint effort” during vaccination in the coming weeks. “Everyone is challenged: states, municipalities, associations, companies, trade unions, clubs,” he recently told the “editorial network Germany”. September is the decisive month. Those who are not vaccinated then lack full protection for the autumn and winter months.
In fact, most health professionals recommend vaccination rates greater than 80 percent. There is still no approved vaccine for the 9.2 million children between the ages of zero and eleven living in Germany. And of the 4.5 million 12 to 17 year olds (as of September 5) only 23 percent are vaccinated. The Robert Koch Institute recommends a vaccination rate of over 70 percent in this group in order to get through the winter safely.
The head of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, Andreas Gassen, does not expect a vaccine for children under the age of twelve until the end of the year. This group is expected to receive a reduced vaccine dose. Various studies by BioNTech and Moderna are currently running, some even with infants.
Do the booster vaccinations bring new impetus?
Booster vaccinations have also started in the federal states: initially in the care facilities and for particularly vulnerable people who were vaccinated at the beginning of the year and for whom the effect is waning. In addition, those who have previously only received vector vaccines such as AstraZeneca can be vaccinated again.
Manufacturers are hoping for new momentum from these refreshments. In the USA, however, there are delays. The immunologist and advisor to US President Joe Biden, Anthony Fauci, told the television station CBS on Sunday that it was possible that the preparations from BioNTech / Pfizer and Moderna would not be approved for booster vaccinations by the targeted start date on September 20 be. Fauci emphasized, however, that one could probably start with at least one preparation at that time, and then with the other preparation a few weeks later.
The White House hopes that approval for one of the two drugs will be in place by September 20. However, no one should get a booster with a vaccine that is not FDA approved.
AstraZeneca cans given away to third countries
In Germany, too, the refreshments are mainly carried out with vaccines from BioNTech and Moderna. The 19 million vaccine doses expected by AstraZeneca by the end of September are therefore hardly needed. The Federal Cabinet has therefore decided to hand over the deliveries to third countries. On August 21, 1.5 million doses of vaccine had already reached Ukraine. In total, Germany has already given 3.7 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to COVAX, short for Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access – an initiative which wants to guarantee equal and fair access to Covid-19 vaccines worldwide.
Germany intends to deliver at least 30 million doses of vaccine to emerging and developing countries by the end of the year. To a lesser extent, there is also bilateral aid. In addition to Ukraine, the target countries for this are Namibia and states in the Western Balkans. For the latter, up to three million doses are planned.
Lasting success is important
The EU plans to dispense at least 200 million doses of vaccines. The G7 countries jointly want to make at least 870 million cans available by the end of 2022. COVAX has also signed a preliminary contract with the US manufacturer Novavax, which provides for the delivery of 350 million cans. Novavax plans to apply for approval of the active ingredient in the EU in the fourth quarter as well.
Numerous other pharmaceutical companies are also currently researching the development of new Covid vaccines. For the established manufacturers, above all BioNTech, the competition on the sales markets is likely to increase. Experts assume that the planned booster vaccinations will give the company a new boost; but in order to be successful in the long term, BioNTech must succeed in selling the Covid-19 vaccine even after the pandemic has been defeated. This is also in the interests of the many thousands of German private investors who have bought BioNTech shares.