ANGELA Merkel has begged Germans to take the Oxford Covid vaccine as the country battles a devastating third wave of the pandemic.
The German chancellor warned the country cannot afford “ups and downs” amid refusals of the Oxford vaccine rollout, as its biggest newspaper has praised the UK’s approach.
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned the country cannot afford “ups and downs” in its coronavirus campaignCredit: Alamy Live News
German newspaper BILD praised the UK’s vaccine approach with the headline ‘Dear Brits, we envy you!’
Merkel’s message comes after German authorities recommended the Oxford jab should not be used on people aged 65 or above, because of a lack of data.
But she told MPs last night: “We are now in the third wave. We cannot afford ups and downs.”
Chancellor Merkel will be keen to get the Covid-19 crisis under control, after Germany’s biggest-selling newspaper praised Britain’s vaccine success and Boris Johnson’s plans to lift the lockdown, with a front-page headline saying: ‘Dear Brits, we envy you!’.
The article in Bild said the UK’s ‘successful’ vaccine programme had allowed Boris Johnson to promise a brighter future to Brits while Germany is “stuck in lockdown” and Angela Merkel’s government is languishing behind in handing out vaccine doses.
It comes as…
Germany is under pressure to speed up its vaccine rollout as the country is inoculating fewer than 900,000 people a week and already has nearly a million unused Oxford-AstraZeneca doses, reported The Times.
Scaremongering about the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has resulted in some people flatly refusing the jab in countries including Germany and France.
Many are skipping their appointments after finding out they would receive the Oxford vaccine, as they instead want the Pfizer jab – causing further issues in their shambolic vaccination drives.
It comes as new findings show just one shot of the British-made Covid jab slashes older people’s risk of being taken to hospital with the disease by 94 per cent, suggesting it is actually slightly more effective than the Pfizer vaccine after a single dose.
German leaders have launched a public relations push to reassure the public that the AstraZeneca shot, developed at Britain’s Oxford University, works.
“The vaccine from AstraZeneca is both safe and highly effective,” Steffen Seibert, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief spokesman, tweeted on Monday. “The vaccine can save lives.”
AstraZeneca says that the reported side effects are in line with observations from its clinical trials.
The Paul Ehrlich Institute has called the vaccine highly effective and described reactions to it as short-lived, reported Reuters.
France’s government has said it wants to “rehabilitate” the AstraZeneca vaccine as EU leaders try to back pedal on their misgivings about the jab which have led to low uptake.
The French health ministry admitted that the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine had an “image deficit” which had led to “feeble” usage of the jab.
It comes after French President Emmanuel Macron himself raised doubts about the jab’s effectiveness and claimed that Britain had taken a risk by authorising it so soon, while French regulators refused to approve it for over-65s.
‘We will use all possible levers to rehabilitate the vaccine,’ the French health ministry said, according to Le Telegramme, days after Scottish data proved the AstraZeneca jab DOES work well.
The British-developed Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine has been proven to protect over 65s
Amid Merkel’s desire to get her country back on track, a vaccine priority reshuffle has seen teachers leapfrog up the list as teaching staff have now been promoted to the second-highest priority ranking for vaccines.
They join other priority groups including GPs, people with dementia, chronic illnesses or learning disabilities and the over-75s.
This means that the first teachers in the eastern state of Thuringia could receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab by the end of the week because the vaccine is not approved for use in over-65s.
In other regions such as Hamburg they will have to wait for more than a month as authorities struggle to get through vaccinating the over-80s, frontline hospital staff and people with serious medical conditions.
Germany has administered five million vaccine doses so far, or around six for every 100 residents, putting it well behind countries like Israel, Britain or the United States that have more aggressive campaigns.
Most are of the Pfizer vaccine, which was developed by Germany’s BioNTech, and have been given so far to the elderly and infirm.
Of the 1.5 million AstraZeneca shots due to have been delivered by the end of last week, only 187,000 have been used so far, according to figures from the health ministry and Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases.
In the UK, almost 18 million first vaccine doses have been given, meaning around 26 in 100 people has been vaccinated so far.
German health minister Jens Spahn is said to be “fighting for his career” after the poor vaccine roll-out across the country and failing to deliver a promised rapid-testing scheme.
Spahn has seen his approval rating slide five points in a month amid the vaccination chaos and a grinding two-month lockdown.
German newspaper Bild is now describing Spahn as a “ministerial flop”, and the 40-year-old – who was seen as an outside contender in the race to succeed Merkel as chancellor later this year – is said to be “frustrated” and “bewildered” by issues he is facing.