Germany’s vaccination program to pick up pace but contagious UK variant now accounts for 22% of cases, health minister warns

Germany’s health minister has said the country will receive a further 3.2 million Covid-19 vaccines before the end of the month, allowing the health service to speed up inoculations amid the concerning spread of the UK variant.

Speaking in a press conference on Wednesday, Health Minister Jens Spahn offered hope that the country’s vaccination program would soon speed up but warned that the more contagious British variant of Covid-19 was becoming more prevalent across Germany and now accounted for 22 percent of all infections. 

We are in one of the most difficult phases of the pandemic for Germany and Europe… While the [British] variant made up six percent of all positive cases a few weeks ago, it is now 22 percent.

“We have to expect that this variant could soon become the dominant one for us too,” Spahn noted, adding that its prevalence was doubling every week.

Focusing on good news, the health minister said case numbers in Germany were still falling despite the growth of the British variant and the country could soon speed up its inoculation program. 

Spahn said that manufacturers should have delivered 10 million vaccine doses by the end of February, which means “the vaccination campaign can now gain momentum.” Currently, 6.8 million have been delivered. 

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So far only 3.5 percent of the German population have received their first Covid-19 jab and only two percent have been given their second dose. 

Countries across the EU have experienced stuttering vaccination campaigns, hampered by late approvals and manufacturing delays. By comparison, almost 30 percent of British adults have received at least one Covid-19 jab. 

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