Challenges and problems in vaccine strategy


At Leipzig University Hospital, pharmacy students Anne Brandt (l) and Sarah Schulz prepared six syringes from a vial of Biontech / Pfizer’s SARS-CoV-2 corona virus vaccine for medical staff immunization. There are currently more requests for vaccination appointments than can be offered at this time.

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Since Germany closed its vaccination campaign in late December, along with the rest of the European Union, it has been a part of logistic challenges.

Now, over a month-long program, its sluggish progress is causing disappointment and anxiety among some German lawmakers and health professionals.

Health Minister Jens Spann aimed for 300,000 vaccinations a day, but so far the country has failed to hit it. Data from the public health agency, Robert Koch Institute, published on Tuesday that in the last 24 hours, just over 62,000 vaccinations (most of which were previously dosed) were performed.

Overall, since Germany began vaccinating on December 16 in all of its 16 states, about 1.2 million people in Germany (for now the priority group are health workers, nursing home residents and staff and the elderly) have received the first dose of coronovirus The vaccine and about 25,000 have received their second dose.

In contrast, the UK, which was the first country in the world to approve and rollout the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (partially developed in Germany), and then the University of Oxford-AstraZeneca candidate, began its Kovid vaccination program earlier in December Was, more than 4 million people have been vaccinated so far with the first vaccine dose (more than 450,000 is their second dose), and by the end of last week there were more than 300,000 vaccinations per day.

A wide range of problems

The European Union followed a policy of purchasing coronovirus vaccines as a block, but some countries including Germany also made their own purchasing agreements.

Nonetheless, supply issues have also been an issue at the beginning of Germany’s vaccination campaign, with the lack of available vaccines available in some hubs, as well as other difficult logistical issues surrounding its priority groups such as vaccinating the elderly. It has demonstrated the deployment of patch vaccines from state to state in the country.

A renowned immunologist and microbiologist in Germany, Drs. Stephen H.E. Kaufmann and the founding director of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin told CNBC on Tuesday that the vaccination process was beset with challenges from the beginning.

“The number one priority (in the vaccination campaign) is currently the elderly and people with serious illnesses, especially in nursery homes. The process is ethically sound, but it is very time-consuming. It involves health care workers and medical workers Also included. In nursing homes and hospitals. Some of the nursing home staff are hesitant regarding vaccination, “he said.

Fenna Martin (C), Marylote Killian (L), 87, and Richard Killian (R), 86, vaccines, in a vaccination center set up at the Congress Center in Wiesbaden, West Germany, on January 19, 2021. The western federal state of Hesse opened its first six vaccination centers among novel coronoviruses.

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So far, only vaccines made by Pfizer and BioNotech, and Modern have been approved by the European Medicines Agency for use in the block. It is not easy to store and transfer (and inexpensive) a candidate from AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

Time is of the essence when it comes to vaccine rollout, particularly among the increase in cases due to over-infective mutations. Nevertheless, Germany has recorded fewer cases than many of its neighbors, registering only over 2 million infections so far. The death toll is 47,958.

For both the UK and the European Union, a major issue is that supply cannot meet the current demand for vaccines, and Germany is no exception, given the initials of those struggling for vaccination appointments amid a lack of supplements Is accompanied by reports. But vaccine manufacturers have promised millions more doses to increase production over the next few weeks and months.

Meanwhile, however, “safe doses are inadequate for immediate use,” Kaufman noted.

“Whenever so-called vaccination centers have been established throughout Germany, these centers currently lack vaccines for increasingly maximum vaccination coverage. (Hopefully) The once-difficult and time-consuming vaccination (at the moment) process. Will be accelerated. The nursing home) has been completed, “he said, noting that the pace of Germany’s vaccination campaign” would have been faster if higher doses would have been safer than Bioentech and Modern. “

“In my opinion, everything should be done to secure higher doses for immediate or short-term use. This is even more important due to the increasing incidence of mutant strains that can avoid vaccine-induced immune responses,” he warns Granted.

Political criticism

Germany is not alone in witnessing the sluggish start to its vaccination campaign. The European Union has come under widespread criticism from the European Union that not enough vaccines have been purchased for the block.

Bernberg’s European economist Florian Hanes told CNBC that the approval and procurement process meant that the EU was behind the line, or at least behind other countries, including Britain and the US, when it came to obtaining vaccine supplies .

“He said that the European Union negotiated with the pharma companies and approved the vaccination on behalf of its member states, Germany’s vaccination drive was always going to be ‘UN-German’, even if you were associated with that term, “CNBC reported on Monday.

Elderly people vaccinated against COVID-19 in case of side effects wait for a short time before visiting the vaccine center at the Messi Berlin Trade Fair Grounds on 18 January 2021 during the second wave of the Coronavi epidemic at the center’s opening day Were staying. Berlin, Germany. The center is the third to open in Berlin. In the coming weeks, once more Pfizer / Bioentech and Modern Vaccine shipments are going to be three more.

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“I suspect that the European Union’s subsequent approval delayed the start of vaccination and ever since the speed of vaccination per day has been limited because those vaccinations in the UK, US have been slow (per capita).”

Needless to say that other MPs have been criticized for the government’s overall strategy. A doctor from the Green Party and a German MP, Dr. Janosh Dahmen told CNBC that he is “very worried because Germany is already behind.”

“The progress of the vaccination campaign is very slow and one of the reasons is the lack of supply, but the more urgent problem is that the vaccination infrastructure reveals many problems, most of all staff shortages, distribution problems in the federal states, and a far way. Too much centralized approach, ”he said.

“As a doctor and a politician, I am very concerned about the situation here and aside from whatever efforts we need to make in a more effective, nationwide vaccination campaign, we need to be tested, self-tested and we need to be tracing. More effort is needed in the field of K, which is another important part to fight this epidemic, ”said Diedmann.

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