German health chief warns of 10 hard weeks ahead
BERLIN — Germany’s health minister says there are at least “10 hard weeks” ahead amid difficulties in getting large quantities of vaccines.
Health Minister Jens Spahn, who faces political pressure over the slow start to Germany’s vaccination campaign, wrote on Twitter Thursday that Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country’s 16 state governors should hold a special meeting to discuss vaccine strategy.
Spahn said vaccine manufacturers also should be invited to “explain how complex production is.” He stressed that “the quality must be very good” in order to protect people.
Spahn wrote that “we will go through at least another 10 hard weeks with the scarcity of vaccine.”
Germany’s current lockdown, its second, was recently extended until Feb. 14. Infection figures are falling, but officials are worried about the potential impact of coronavirus variants such as the one first detected in Britain.
Some 1.67 million people in Germany had received the first dose of the vaccine and over 318,000 the second by Tuesday, about a month into the vaccination campaign.