Tags: Coronavirus | Berlin | Germany | vaccinations

Berlin Plans Six Vast COVID-19 Vaccination Centers

covid syringe
(FrankHoemann/Sven Simon/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)

Thursday, 26 November 2020 05:32 PM

Berlin is racing to open six mass vaccination centers capable of handling up to 4,000 people per day by mid-December, the project coordinator told Reuters on Thursday, as the city waits for authorities to approve the first vaccines.

If the plan is successful, Germany could be a model for the United States and other wealthy countries, Axios noted. The United States is expected to begin such mass vaccination efforts by spring, with early efforts of front-line workers, the elderly, and others with comorbidities making them more susceptible to the virus, getting the vaccine in early December.

An empty trade fair hall, two airport terminals, a concert arena, a velodrome, and an ice rink will be turned into six vaccination centers with plans to administer up to 900,000 shots against the coronavirus in the first three months.

Albrecht Broemme, president, Federal Agency For Technical Relief, said plans envisage 3,000 to 4,000 people per day being ferried through each center in the same way as shoppers are guided through IKEA stores in one direction.

"The biggest challenge will be succeeding in getting the right people at the right time at the right vaccination center," Broemme said on the sidelines of a fire drill at the city's makeshift COVID-19 hospital in a trade fair hall.

Germany appears to be the furthest ahead of European nations in its planning for the daunting logistical and administrative challenge that could be just a few weeks away if the first vaccines gain approval.

Europe's drug watchdog expects to receive the first application for conditional marketing approval for a COVID-19 vaccine "in the coming days," it said on Thursday, the latest step toward making a shot available outside the United States.

Broemme said Berlin is working on the assumption that around 80% of its doses in the first instance will come from Pfizer/BioNTech with the remaining 20% of the doses from AstraZeneca.

Health Minister Jens Spahn said Germany has secured around 300 million vaccine doses. Other German states have said vaccination centers will be ready from mid-December and mobile teams will inoculate the most vulnerable.

Elsewhere in Europe, preparations appear mixed.

In Spain, the government aims to vaccinate a substantial part of its population in the first half of 2021 and has opted to use trucks rather than centers to distribute the shots.

Italy expects to have vaccinated most Italians by next September and is due to set out detailed plans on Dec. 2. France has said it could start administering shots as soon as the end of the year and will unveil its strategy next week.

Britain plans to roll out vaccines using a mixture of centers and doctors' practices and is aiming to have enough shots to have some sort of normality after Easter.

In contrast, Hungary and Bulgaria are not expecting to receive their first shipments until spring.

Berlin's vaccination centers will be open seven days a week and on public holidays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Broemme said, with the aim of completing the first phase within three months. After that people will get shots at doctors' practices and pharmacies.

Those over age 75 and healthcare workers are expected to be first-in-line, the city's health senator said last week.

One challenge will be finding enough staff to operate the centers, which will need medical professionals, stewards and security guards. EasyJet has offered some of its first-aid trained staff, a spokesman said.

Broemme expects each person to spend around one hour in the center. People will be monitored for side effects for around 30 minutes after receiving a shot amid strict social-distancing and hygiene standards.

Newsmax staff contributed.

© 2021 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Berlin is racing to open six mass vaccination centers capable of handling up to 4,000 people per day by mid-December, the project coordinator told Reuters on Thursday, as the city waits for authorities to approve the first vaccines.If the plan is successful, Germany could...
Berlin, Germany, vaccinations
Thursday, 26 November 2020 05:32 PM
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