According to Lauterbach, the cabinet also decided that vaccination centers should be kept alive; the federal government provides up to 100 million euros per month for this purpose. There should also be a new vaccination campaign.
“I can’t yet predict which variants we will have to fight with in the fall”
Lauterbach acknowledged that there is currently a “surplus” of vaccine doses in Germany – and that the planned ordering of new vaccines will likely mean that older vaccines expire. But it was “substantiated in the matter”, he said. “We can’t yet predict which variants we’ll have to contend with in the fall.” This is why the government must be prepared for all eventualities by ordering vaccines.
It is expected that interested citizens can be vaccinated for the fourth time with a vaccine of their choice by the fall. This promise of free choice should also apply if all interested persons wish to be vaccinated with the same vaccine – and other vaccines then expire. “When new variants and new vaccines come in, you have to get new vaccines, as some of the old vaccines expire,” the minister said.
The medical basis is missing so far
Lauterbach said he considered “desirable” a general recommendation from the Standing Committee on Immunization for a fourth vaccination; However, there is currently no medical basis for such a recommendation, as it is far from clear which variants the country will face in the fall.
According to Lauterbach, the fight against the pandemic should also be a central topic at the meeting of G7 health ministers on Thursday and Friday in Berlin. Ministers are expected to agree a global “pandemic pact” when they meet, he said. The goal is to respond more quickly to future pandemics around the world – by monitoring outbreaks, reacting faster, and developing drugs and vaccines faster. To that end, G7 ministers would take a “pioneering shot”, Lauterbach said.