Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff says he expects coronavirus vaccinations to start in Germany “in the very first days” of the new year. The trained doctor says he’s prepared to help vaccinate people himself.
European Union authorities are expected to make a decision by Dec. 29 on approving the first vaccine for use. Germany is getting special vaccination centers ready. The news comes as Britain gears up to start coronavirus vaccinations on Tuesday.
Merkel’s chief of staff, Helge Braun, told the Bild newspaper late Sunday that he will tell medical authorities he’s prepared to help. He said “that won’t work at every hour of the day or night as chief of staff, but at the weekend I’m prepared to join in.” He said that he and Merkel will get vaccinated “when it’s our turn.”
Infection figures in Germany have more or less stabilized at a high level since a partial shutdown started on Nov. 2 but haven’t decreased. On Monday, the national disease control center reported 12,332 new cases over the past 24 hours, compared with 11,168 a week ago, and 147 new deaths.
Restrictions such as the closure of restaurants, bars, sports and leisure facilities are due to last until at least Jan. 10 and some regions are taking or contemplating tougher measures. Braun said tighter restrictions are needed “at least in the hot spots.”