First foreign COVID vaccines head to China from Germany


  • Batch of BioNTech shots on their way to China
  • German civilians are shot; Berlin pushes for wider use
  • Shipment comes after a visit by Scholz to China last month
  • Comes as an infection spike in the world’s No. 2 economy

BERLIN, Dec. 21 (Reuters) – Berlin has sent its first batch of BioNTech (22UAy.DE) COVID-19 vaccines to China to be administered initially to German expatriates, a German government spokesman said on Wednesday. brought to the country.

No details were available about the time and size of the delivery, although the spokesman said Berlin is insisting that foreigners, except German nationals, estimated at around 20,000, be allowed access to the shot if they wish.

The shipment comes after China agreed to allow German nationals in China to get the shot following a deal made during Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s visit to Beijing last month, in which the German leader insisted that Beijing release the shot freely. would make available to Chinese citizens. .

In a letter to be sent to German citizens in mainland China, the government said it would offer free basic immunizations and booster injections of vaccines approved for use in the European Union to anyone over the age of 12.

Family members of other nationalities would not be included. Vaccinations for children under 12 may follow at a later date.

“We are working on the possibility that, in addition to Germans, other foreigners can also be vaccinated with BioNTech,” the spokesperson told journalists in Berlin.

The photos will be delivered to German companies in China and to embassies. Talks are underway with other EU governments to get them to citizens of other nationalities, a source familiar with the situation said.

China should give permission to expand access beyond German nationals, the source said.

In return, Chinese citizens in Europe can be vaccinated with the Chinese SinoVac (SVA.O), the spokesman said.

The comment comes on the heels of a report earlier this month that Germany’s Health Ministry issued a permit allowing China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine to be imported into Germany to be given to Chinese citizens in that country.

The injection has not been approved for use by the European drug regulator, but the World Health Organization has given the green light for its use.

Beijing has so far insisted on using only domestically produced vaccines, which are not based on Western mRNA technology but on more traditional technologies.

The shipment comes as Beijing is dismantling its strict “zero-COVID” regime of lockdowns, which has led to a spate of cases that have caught a fragile health system unprepared.

Experts predict that the country of 1.4 billion could face more than a million COVID deaths next year.

Giving German expats access to a Western shot is a grand gesture to Berlin, reflecting Beijing’s efforts to strengthen ties with the EU’s largest economy after years of trade and climate tensions between the two countries.

Shares in BioNTech rose on shipping news to close 2.3% higher in Frankfurt, while Pfizer shares in New York rose 1.25% during late morning New York trading.

BioNTech was not immediately available to comment on the situation on Wednesday.

China is stuck between rising Covid-19 cases and stalled vaccination rate


China has nine domestically developed COVID vaccines approved for use, more than any other country. But none have been updated to target the highly contagious Omicron variant, as Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna (MRNA.O) have for boosters in many developed countries.

The two shots developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are the most widely used worldwide.

Early in the pandemic, BioNTech struck a deal with Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical (600196.SS) to supply the injections to greater China.

While the recordings have become available in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, the regulatory review for mainland China has not yet been completed. BioNTech has said the decision was up to Chinese regulators and has not given a reason for the delay.

China’s zero-COVID policy and lockdown measures have kept death and infection rates to a minimum in recent months, but caused massive disruptions both domestically and in global trade and supply chains.

China uses a narrow definition of COVID deaths and reported no new fatalities on Tuesday, even surpassing one of its total tally since the start of the pandemic, now at 5,241 — a fraction of the toll of many much less populated countries.

The National Health Commission said Tuesday that only deaths from pneumonia and respiratory failure in patients who had the virus are classified as COVID deaths.

Reporting by Thomas Escritt, Alexander Ratz, and Christian Kraemer; additional reporting by Danilo Masoni in Milan and Amanda Cooper in London; Written by Miranda Murray; Edited by Josephine Mason and David Evans

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Principles of Trust.

Thomas Escritt

Thomson Reuters

Berlin correspondent who has researched anti-vaxxers and COVID treatment practices, covered refugee camps and covered warlord trials in The Hague. He previously covered Eastern Europe for the Financial Times. He speaks Hungarian, German, French and Dutch.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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