German institute says coronavirus vaccinations could start in early 2021

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The head of Germany’s vaccines regulator said some groups of people living in Germany could be vaccinated early next year against the coronavirus that has killed almost 800,000 worldwide and wreaked havoc on the global economy.

More than half a dozen drugmakers around the world are conducting advanced clinical trials, each with tens of thousands of participants, and several expect to know if their COVID-19 vaccines work and are safe by the end of this year.

Klaus Cichutek, head of the Paul Ehrlich Institut, told the Funke group of newspapers that data from Phase I and Phase II trials showed some vaccines triggered an immune response against the coronavirus.

“If data from Phase III trials shows the vaccines are effective and safe, the first vaccines could be approved at the beginning of the year, possibly with conditions attached,” he said.

“Based on assurances from manufacturers, the first doses for people in Germany will be available at that time, in accordance with the priorities set by the Standing Committee on Vaccination,” Cichutek said, referring to the group that makes recommendations for the use of licensed vaccines in Germany.

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