A coronavirus vaccine could be approved for use in Germany by mid-December, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn said inan interview with Bayerischer Rundfunk public radio.
With a successful trial of a COVID-19 vaccine by BioNTech and Pfizer companies, it is now just a matter of time before German authorities begin their anti-coronavirus vaccination drive in the country, he said.
"It makes me proud that BioNTech is a German development. It is at the forefront and, above all, is safe and effective," Spahn said.
Final results for the coronavirus vaccine developed by US-based Pfizer and German partner BioNTech showed its shot had a 95% efficacy rate, the two pharmaceutical firms said earlier this month, with the trials also providing two-months worth of data on vaccine's safety.
Spahn said that Germany has secured over 300 million vaccination doses from different manufacturers. "You want to be on the safe side and not just rely on one vaccine candidate," he said.
'Light at the end of the tunnel'
The German health minister said health staff in hospitals and nursing homes will be the first to receive vaccination after the approval, adding that it won't be mandatory for everyone.
It's not just about protecting yourself, but also protecting those you care for, Spahn said.
German state authorities have said that vaccination centers will be ready from mid-December and mobile teams will inoculate the most vulnerable.
Chancellor Angela Merkel told parliament on Thursday that vaccines represented "a light at the end of the tunnel" for Germany.
Restrictions until 2021
Germany on Thursday passed more than a million cases since the start of the pandemic. While the exponential rise in cases appears to have been curbed for now, daily infection rates and deaths remain high.
Restrictions are expected to remain until at least January, according to officials, with certain decisions handed down to local authorities.
There is still a chance the Christmas mini-amnesty, currently slated to last from December 23 to January 1, will be revoked.