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Germany says does not intend to delay second COVID-19 vaccine shot

German Health Minister Jens Spahn attends a news conference on the started coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination campaign, in Berlin, Germany, January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany intends to stick to recommendations by BioNTech and Pfizer regarding the administration of a second dose of their COVID-19 vaccines rather than delaying it, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Wednesday.

Germany has asked an independent expert panel for advice on whether to allow a delay in administering the second dose to make scarce supplies go further, after a similar move by Britain last week.

“My impression is that it makes a lot of sense, especially with these sensitive issues, where trust and reliability are important, that we stick to the approval,” Spahn told a news conference, adding that this was in line with the initial feedback he had received from the vaccination experts.

He also spoke out against mixing or switching between COVID-19 vaccines, which some nations are also considering to stretch scarce supplies.

Germany’s 83 million residents will receive more than 130 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, enough for everybody who needs to receive the shots, Spahn said.

He said that he expects first deliveries of the vaccine developed by Moderna next week. The European Medicines Agency earlier on Wednesday approved the U.S. drugmaker’s vaccine for emergency use.

Germany will receive 50 million doses of the Moderna vaccine this year, of which 2 million doses are expected in the first quarter, he said.

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle and Sabine Siebold; Writing by Riham Alkousaa, editing by Emma Thomasson and Maria Sheahan

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