Mar 19, 2021 - Health

German health minister: Not enough vaccine doses to stop a third wave

German Health Minister Jens Spahn.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn. Photo: Mika Schmidt - Pool/Getty Images

COVID-19 cases are spiking at an "exponential rate" in Germany and there may not be enough vaccine doses to avoid a third wave, German Health Minister Jens Spahn warned at a press conference on Friday, according to Deutsche Welle.

Why it matters: The deteriorating health situation means that Germany may need to consider more restrictive measures, halting reopening plans, Spahn noted.

  • On Monday Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to meet with governors of Germany's 16 states, where they will discuss the possibility of a new lockdown, NPR reports.

What they're saying: "There are not yet enough vaccine doses in Europe to stop the third wave by vaccination alone," Spahn said.

  • "Even if the deliveries from EU orders come reliably, it will still take a few weeks until the risk groups are fully vaccinated."
  • "The rising case numbers may mean that we are unable to take any further steps towards opening up in the weeks to come. On the contrary, we may even have to take steps backwards," Spahn said.

He added that he would be in favor of Germany signing a deal with Russia to obtain doses of its Sputnik V vaccine.

  • "I am actually very much in favor of us doing it nationally if the European Union does not do something."

The big picture: On Friday Lars Schaade, vice president of Germany's Robert Koch Institute, warned that the spread of COVID-19 variants means "there are difficult weeks ahead."

  • "It is very possible that we will have a similar situation over Easter to the one we had before Christmas, with very high case numbers, many severe cases and deaths and hospitals that are overwhelmed."

What to watch: Experts have warned that the rising case numbers in Europe may soon be reflected in the U.S.

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