Germany to offer Covid-19 vaccinations in mosques

Health minister unveils plans to provide coronavirus inoculations in shopping centres and places of worship

FILE PHOTO: German Health Minister Jens Spahn attends a news conference on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Berlin, Germany June 18, 2021. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/Pool/File Photo

Germany will offer vaccinations against Covid-19 in shopping centres and places of worship, health officials said on Saturday.

It wants to vaccinate at least 80 per cent of the population.

Although demand is still outstripping supply in many doctors' practices, this will switch to a surplus in the next few weeks, Health Minister Jens Spahn said.

He said the country needed to press on fast with vaccinations to prevent the Delta variant of the coronavirus from taking hold.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn (L) and Leif Erik Sander, head of the Department of Infectious Diseases and Pulmonary Medicine at the Charite hospital, leave after attending a press conference in Berlin, Germany on June 25, 2021, to comment on the current situation amid the novel coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic. / AFP / POOL / MICHELE TANTUSSI

The government is to deliver five million doses to regional vaccination centres in the first week of July and drugmaker Moderna will be able to deliver double the doses it had originally promised Germany, Mr Spahn said.

He said the country is to start campaigning more actively to encourage those who are hesitant to get vaccinated and it will offer vaccines to passers-by in city centres and at churches and mosques.

Germany has now fully vaccinated more than a third of the total population, while 53 per cent have had a first shot, the Robert Koch Institute public health agency reported on Saturday.

Its head, Lothar Wieler, said Germany wanted to vaccinate at least 80 per cent of the population.

"We need to reach that figure so we have basic protection," he said.

Even though infection rates are currently low in Germany, Mr Spahn said the rapid spread of the Delta variant in Britain and Israel showed the need for speedy vaccinations.

The institute declared on Friday that Portugal and Russia will be added to its list of "virus-variant zones" which already includes Britain.

The total number of Covid-19 cases reported in Germany so far increased by 592 to 3,726,172 on Saturday, while the death toll rose by 68 to 90,746.