Sunday, December 5, 2021

Harsh criticism of Biontech limitation Patient protection: Spahn "torpedoed booster offensive"

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Biontech could soon become scarce in medical practices. Health Minister Spahn is postponing a large part of the deliveries. Those who have been given a basic immunization with Biontech now usually receive a different vaccine.

The Federal Ministry of Health will limit the delivery of the Biontech vaccine in the coming weeks. Resident doctors will only receive 30 doses of Biontech vaccine from next week, vaccination centers 1,020 doses.

The Federal Ministry of Health emphasized on Friday that enough vaccine would be available for booster vaccinations by the end of the year. Since the preparation from Biontech has so far made up more than 90 percent of orders, Moderna should be used more and more. This should ensure that sufficient vaccine is available in the short term. In addition, stored Moderna cans expired from the middle of the first quarter of 2022, but this must be avoided.

For Biontech, “maximum order quantities” should therefore be defined, as stated in a letter from the ministry to the federal states. First, the editorial network Germany reported (Saturday) about it.

In the practices, due to the limitation in Biontech orders from November 23rd, a significantly increased need for advice can be expected, said the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV). “As a result, most of the patients who were vaccinated with Biontech as part of their basic immunization will now – if they are over 30 years old – receive a booster vaccination with Moderna,” said KBV Vice-President Stephan Hofmeister.

According to available study data and according to the Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko), both vaccines are equivalent. “Nevertheless, there will be a great need for explanation, which ties up valuable time that is then lacking for vaccination,” said Hofmeister. This is not very helpful if, above all, vaccination is to be carried out quickly and a lot. According to the KBV, vaccinations are generally picking up speed. Almost five million cans have been ordered for the next week. This is the largest amount so far that has been delivered to practices since the start of the vaccination campaign.

The Rhineland-Palatinate Health Minister Clemens Hoch (SPD) sharply criticized the federal government’s announcement. “Today the Federal Minister of Health has announced that the Biontech vaccine will be rationed from December and that another vaccine will be delivered so that the federal government can clear its stocks,” said Hoch on Friday. This is completely past reality and is irresponsible.

Most people in Rhineland-Palatinate would be vaccinated with Biontech and therefore also wanted to have the booster with this vaccine. “If not enough Biontech is supplied by the federal government, there is a risk of many appointments being canceled and a massive delay in the upcoming vaccination campaign.”

It was only on Thursday that the federal and state governments announced at a conference of prime ministers that they wanted to further fan the vaccination campaign. The booster vaccinations in particular have been sluggish over the past few weeks. According to the RKI, 312,000 syringes were used on Tuesday – as many in one day as not since August, as Spahn explained on Twitter. “The direction is right, but not enough to break the dynamic.”

In total, at least 55.9 million people or 67.3 percent of all residents are now fully vaccinated. A good three million German citizens have now received a boost in vaccination at least six months later.

In order to boost vaccinations more, practical solutions should also be found. As of November 16, practices will be able to order vaccines once again after they have mutually switched to a two-week cycle in the summer, explained the Federal Association of German Pharmacists’ Associations. Thawed vaccines could then be stored in the practice refrigerator for a month or more.

The German Foundation for Patient Protection has accused Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) of obstructing the planned start-up of booster vaccinations in the Corona crisis. The background to this is an announcement by the Spahn Ministry that the so-called booster vaccinations are to be carried out more with the vaccine from Moderna instead of Biontech.

“While the incumbent Chancellor, the heads of government of the federal states and the Bundestag are calling out the big booster offensive, Jens Spahn is torpedoing the project,” said the board of directors of the German Foundation for Patient Protection, Eugen Brysch, of the German press agency. “Because obviously there are not enough freely selectable vaccines for people who want to vaccinate. In practice, the supply is slowed down.”

Bavaria’s Health Minister Klaus Holetschek (CSU) also protests against the announcement by the Ministry of Health. That was unacceptable, he told the German Press Agency in Munich. Holetschek, who is also chairman of the conference of health ministers of the federal states, now wants to put this on the agenda of the deliberations planned for Monday. “That has to be discussed and resolved.”

The federal and state governments have jointly determined that a large, joint effort is now required to vaccinate, said Holetschek. “All federal states will tackle this with all their might.” First and second vaccinations are important, but especially the booster vaccinations. If one now hears that the Biontech vaccine should be restricted, it is “absolutely unacceptable and destroys the necessary trust that the citizens must have in us in this highly dramatic situation”. This is not only unacceptable for the vaccination centers, but above all for the medical profession, who have geared all planning to it.

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