Additionally, there were also orders from Sanofi/GSK, Valneva and Novavax. An additional three million Pfizer vaccine doses from Poland were also ordered in early December 2021 and delivered later the same month. If all 83 million of Germany's population got their vaccinations, the sheer number the government bought would be enough to give each person seven doses. Currently, almost 73 percent of the German population have received their full shots of the vaccine, with over 48 percent already receiving their booster shots.
This bizarre order comes from Health Minister Karl Lauterbach and Finance Minister Christian Lindner, who said that Germany could face vaccine shortages early in 2022 if new doses are not acquired.
Lindner also announced that the German government is prepared to shell out an extra $2.48 billion of its budget to secure more doses of the vaccines as the omicron variant continues to spread. "We need more vaccines quickly for speedy booster shots and possible omicron vaccinations," Lauterbach said. (Related: Truth hurts: 96% of omicron cases in Germany are among the fully vaccinated.)
Lauterbach also addressed efforts to secure more vaccines in the latter part of 2021, including programs for vaccinating children aged 11 and under. Infection and death rates, though lower, still remain very high in Germany, with health experts warning that more drastic measures may need to be taken.
Lauterbach also said that the COVID wave will reach its peak roughly in mid-February despite hospitalization rates being low. However, clinics could see a severe strain in the coming weeks, with people over the age of 50 who aren't vaccinated significantly higher in Germany compared to other European countries.
The disease control agency reported 133,536 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, with 234 deaths.
While omicron is less likely to cause severe illness compared to delta, it does spread more easily compared to previous strains and has already become dominant in many countries. Further, it infects those who have already been vaccinated, or have been previously infected by prior versions of the virus as well.
The omicron variant, comparatively, was slow to start spreading in Germany by European standards, but the country has experienced an increase in case numbers similar to those seen in other nearby countries.
In France, for instance, more than 460,000 cases had been reported, while Italy logged in over 228,000. Both countries have relatively smaller populations than Germany, which has already tightened restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. Austria, meanwhile, saw a surge in cases to about 30,000, with Chancellor Karl Nehammer calling it a "shockingly high number" that doubled previous figures.
Germany also limited access to bars and restaurants to those who have received their booster jabs in addition to already being fully vaccinated or recovered.
In connection with this, police in Germany are now investigating over 12,000 cases of suspected forgery of coronavirus vaccine certificates, with the DPA news agency noting that probes surged in December after authorities announced the restrictions that largely blocked unvaccinated people out of public life. (Related: Germany's COVID vaccine mandate could be delayed due to "bureaucratic hurdles".)
Individuals or groups that supply or use fake certificates will be facing severe penalties from fines and suspended prison sentences to job loss.
The German parliament is expected to begin debating universal vaccine mandates in the coming months, though government officials acknowledge the measures may not likely take effect for several months.
Watch the video below to see the current vaccination situation in Germany:
This video is from the Vigilent Citizen channel on Brighteon.com.
Get more updates about COVID-19 at Pandemic.news.