Germany expects steady rise in vaccine supply through July

BERLIN (AP) — The German government said Wednesday it expects the supply of coronavirus vaccines to rise steadily in the coming months, hitting a peak of almost 10 million doses a week in July.

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert dampened hopes of a sudden surge, but said mathematical models used by the government indicate the weekly supply could reach nearly 5 million by the end of April.

While most vaccinations are currently done at large centers specially set up for the task, some German states have begun allowing doctors to administer the shots in a limited number of practices. Officials are discussing whether to allow all general practitioners and specialists to offer vaccines as the available supply increases in the coming weeks and the centers reach their limit.

Germany’s vaccine campaign has lagged behind far behind countries such as Britain and the United States. By Wednesday, about 5.6 million people in Germany had received at least a first dose of vaccine, compared with 22.6 million in Britain, which was among the European countries hardest hit by the pandemic.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged that all Germans will have been offered a vaccine before the country’s national election on Sept. 26, a goal that the government models indicate can be met.

“We can see light at the end of the tunnel,” Merkel said Wednesday at a discussion event with staff at crisis helplines. “There will be another three or four difficult months — March, April, May, June — and then we will be far enough along with vaccinating that we will really see the effects of vaccination. And I think things will be much better then.”

Germany’s disease control agency reported 9,146 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 overnight, and 300 additional deaths. Since the outbreak began, Germany has recorded more than 2.5 million confirmed cases and 72,489 COVID-related deaths.

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