Tuesday 29 December 2020
Immune protection from the syringe
All the data, all the facts about the corona vaccination
By Martin Morcinek and Christoph Wolf
The big vaccination begins: Mobile vaccination teams swarm all over Germany and the vaccination centers open their gates. How many people have already received the first doses of the vaccine? And what are the vaccination rates abroad?
It is a triumph of research, science and cooperation geared towards the common good: Less than a year after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe, mass vaccination with the first Europe-wide approved vaccine against the potentially fatal Covid-19 disease began .
The fight against Sars-CoV-2 is entering a new phase: With the planned establishment of immune protection, the public can for the first time counter the pathogen more than just ventilation, mask, distance and hygiene. There are prospects that vaccination may be effective in reducing the transmission of the virus. Much now depends on how quickly the immune protection screen can be opened. There is also daily updated data that provides an overview of how many people in Germany have already been vaccinated:
The data from the so-called vaccination quota monitoring are not only important for the next steps in the pandemic defense and the decision on any easing: In order to maintain an overview and at the same time to be able to assess the effectiveness of the measures, a series of Information collected.
The vaccination teams record the day of vaccination, the vaccine used, the batch number and the age and sex of the vaccinated person. In addition, there is information on the place of residence based on the postcode and the so-called vaccination indication, i.e. whether the person in question belongs to a risk group or another vaccination category. It is also recorded whether it is a first vaccination or already the second vaccination, after which the vaccine from Biontech currently used is only immunized.
These data are entered in the vaccination centers and by the mobile vaccination teams on site via a special online portal and digitally transmitted to the Bundesdruckerei, where they are temporarily stored on behalf of the RKI and accessed daily by the RKI. “The number of vaccinations carried out (differentiated between first and second vaccination) should be reported daily,” it says. Information on the regional vaccination rate is also possible on this basis.
In Europe, the EU Medicines Agency EMA cleared the way for the use of Biontech’s Covid-19 vaccine on December 21. Shortly afterwards, the EU Commission formally granted approval. On December 22nd, the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI) in Germany also approved the vaccine batches. So far, only the vaccine BNT162b2 developed by Biontech and Pfizer is available in Germany (and the other EU countries as well).
On Boxing Day, a 101-year-old senior in Saxony-Anhalt was the first person in Germany to receive a vaccination. Since last Sunday, the largest vaccination campaign in history has started across the country. The rest of the schedule is precisely defined: In a logistical effort, the vaccination doses are frozen and delivered to the federal states. Mobile vaccination teams are available everywhere in Germany to initially immunize people over 80 in old people’s and nursing homes as well as their nursing staff and the particularly endangered staff in hospitals in accordance with the prepared vaccination strategy.
The procedure is based on ethical considerations: Vaccination protection should first be offered to those people who are at the greatest risk of developing seriously or even life-threatening Covid-19. “Prioritization is necessary because initially there is not enough vaccine available to vaccinate all people who want it,” says the Federal Ministry of Health.
By the end of January, three to four million vaccine doses should be available nationwide. It will therefore take some time before the majority of people in Germany, which are necessary for real immune protection of the population, are vaccinated. Since the treatment with the Biontech vaccine involves two injection syringes at an interval of up to three weeks, this means that by the end of the month less than two million people can be provided with full vaccination protection.
Even so, the schedule is ambitious: a total of 670,000 vaccine doses are to be distributed and used every week in Germany under the direction of the state authorities. After the very old and particularly endangered nurses and doctors, according to the vaccination plan, it is the turn of those over 70 years of age, contact persons of endangered risk groups and emergency services from the police and fire brigade. Educators and teachers, for example, only follow in the third category.
The vaccination is paid for by the federal government, the costs for setting up and organizing the vaccination centers are borne by the federal states and the health insurance companies. The deliveries are distributed to the federal states according to their proportion of the population. 11 to 13 million vaccine doses are expected for the entire first quarter. For the entire year, Germany receives over 85 million vaccine doses from Biontech alone. Further vaccine candidates are about to be approved. If all should be approved, Germany can expect a total of 300 million vaccine doses.