Germany gives record million vaccines in 24 hours as EU looks to summer
Across the bloc 27.2% of adults have now received at least one dose, with campaigns rapidly accelerating
German health minister Jens Spahn (left) speaking to a health worker as Regina Andelum gets a coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination centre in Hamburg. Photograph: EPA/Daniel Reinhardt/pool
Europe Correspondent Germany set a new EU vaccination record by administering over a million jabs in a single day this week as a boost in deliveries helps European Union countries ramp up inoculation campaigns ahead of the summer.
Some 1,088,952 million jabs went into arms in Germany on Wednesday, health minister Jens Spahn announced, meaning the country had vaccinated over 1 per cent of its population in 24 hours, a rate that has been matched by few countries.
It comes as vaccine deliveries ramp up to EU member states, helping accelerate vaccine programmes across the block.
Italy also announced it had hit a new record and surpassed its target of 500,000 doses in 24 hours.
“The vaccine is the real way out of these difficult months,” health minister Roberto Speranza said. “Thanks to the men and women of the national health service and to all the institutions for the great team work.”
Across the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, 27.2 per cent of adults have now received at least one dose of a vaccine, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, with the rate in Ireland at 28.3 per cent.
Though infections remain high particularly in Cyprus, Sweden, France and the Netherlands, several countries have moved towards easing restrictions in recent days and weeks, with cafe terraces in the Netherlands and Belgium preparing to welcome visitors.
The acceleration of inoculations has focused attention on the possibility of easing travel between EU countries by mid-summer, when the bloc is set to receive enough doses to vaccinate 70 per cent of its adult population.
A pan-EU digital system to recognise national vaccination certificates is currently being built, and will be first tested in a pilot to link up a range of countries including Italy, France, Germany and Spain from May 10th.
A test to link up Ireland to the system is expected from the end of May.
The legislation required for the so-called green digital certificate system is still under negotiation between the European Parliament, commission, and member states, but MEPs gave the green light to the idea this week.
The system is designed to include Covid-19 test results and proof of recovery from the illness, as well as vaccination status, in order to include people who have not received jabs. Non-EU countries can request to join.
Countries with large tourism industries are keen for the system to be ready by the summer, and Spanish tourism minister Fernando Valdés told a conference this week that his country would be “ready in June to tell all travellers worldwide that you can visit us”.
The EU is to sign a deal for 1.8 billion doses of BioNTech-Pfizer vaccines for booster shots to combat new variants and to cover younger groups. The pharmaceutical company applied for clearance from the European Medicines Agency for its jab to be given to children aged between 12 and 15 this week after a trial gave positive results. Vaccinations could begin to be rolled out to under-16s in the EU from June, BioNTech chief executive Ugur Sahin said, with an eye to reducing the possibility of outbreaks when schools return.