Berlin - Germany's capital on Thursday said family doctors can decide who to vaccinate with AstraZeneca's vaccine, the same day health minister Jens Spahn (CDU) said corona vaccinations would be opened to anyone willing to be vaccinated by June at the latest.
Berlin is now the fourth state to allow anyone to be vaccinated with AstraZeneca after Bavaria, Mecklenburg-Western Pommerania and Saxony Wednesday lifted restrictions on the use of the vaccine.
"We are reacting to the current epidemiological situation with this decision, just as is foreseen in the vaccination guidelines," said Berlin health minister Dilek Kalayci (SPD) in a statement. "During the current infection wave it's important to get as many people quickly vaccinated as possible."
The capital's decision comes just hours after federal health minister Spahn offered residents hope of a somewhat normal summer.
"We will be able to lift prioritisation in June," he said, speaking in the Bundesrat, the upper house of parliament, on Thursday.
In May, prioritisation group three will be able to receive vaccinations, he said. "Many occupational groups" would be added to those eligible for a corona jab. The minister spoke during a debate on the updated version of the Infection Protection Act.
More than 17.9 million people already vaccinated
According to health ministry, more than 17.9 million people in Germany had received at least one vaccination shot by Wednesday. Approximately 5.7 million people have been fully vaccinated - 6.9 per cent of the population.
Spahn pointed to the success of the vaccination campaign so far, especially in nursing homes. Currently, only 3 per cent of all new infections are being recorded in nursing homes; before the start of the vaccination campaign, the figure was around 50 per cent.