Germany postpones vaccine summit as cases surge

Berlin, Mar 16 (efe-epa).- The German government on Tuesday postponed a planned videoconference to discuss the state of the country’s vaccination campaign while it awaits the results of an inquiry by the European Medicines Agency into whether the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe.

Germany is one of a number of EU countries to halt use of the vaccine after reports of isolated cases of blood clots developing in people who have received the jab, which was developed by the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company and Oxford University.

The EMA and WHO have insisted the vaccine is safe to use. The EU regulator is expected to announce its findings on Thursday.

Chancellor Angela Merkel had been due to meet with the country’s regional prime ministers on Wednesday to discuss extending the vaccination programme, which has been criticised for its slow pace.

The German government wants to have general practitioners — known in Germany as family doctors — to administer vaccines to help speed up the pace of the rollout. So far, inoculations have largely been done at vaccination centers.

The announcement of further delays to the vaccination campaign comes as infection rates have surged over the past week.

The cumulative seven-day infection rate rose to 84 cases per 100,000 people, up from 67.5 a week ago, the country’s disease control center said, adding that case numbers were growing “exponentially.”

The peak incidence of 197.6 was recorded on December 22, and it fell below 100 for the first time in three months on January 28. That downward trend continued for several weeks.

“In recent days the increase in cases has accelerated. The risk of an even greater increase in cases is markedly elevated,” the RKI notes in its daily report. EFE-EPA


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