BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany is making preparations to start vaccinations against the coronavirus before the end of the year, Bild daily reported on Friday.
The health ministry plans to create 60 special vaccination centres to ensure the vaccines can be stored at the proper temperature and has asked the country’s 16 federal states to provide addresses for them by Nov. 10, Bild reported without citing its sources.
At a video conference earlier this week, Health Minister Jens Spahn, who himself tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday, said Germany’s BioNTech was close to getting a vaccine approved, Bild cited participants as saying.
Asked when he expected the first vaccinations, Spahn replied: “That could happen before the end of the year,” participants told Bild.
BioNTech is developing its vaccine in partnership with Pfizer Inc.
Last month, Germany awarded $745 million in funding to biotech firms BioNTech and CureVac to speed up work on COVID-19 vaccines and expand German production capacity.
On Tuesday, Pfizer and BioNTech announced the start in Japan of combined Phase I and Phase II clinical trials of their mRNA-based vaccine candidate against the coronavirus.
Their U.S. vaccine trial could yield initial results as soon as later this month.
Germany’s infection rates have been accelerating. Data released on Thursday showed the number of confirmed cases rose by more than 10,000 in a single day for the first time.
Reporting by Madeline Chambers in Berlin; Editing by Bill Berkrot