Austria’s Health Ministry confirmed the new coronavirus vaccines adapted to omicron variants are on their way to the country and should be ready to be administered by the end of next week.
The vaccines are expected to arrive in the country by September 9th and should then be distributed to vaccination centres across the federal states. The new option is a so-called bivalent vaccine, in other words, a vaccine that works by stimulating an immune response against two different variants.
In this case the Wuhan variant and the BA.1 variant. They should increase neutralising antibodies by a factor of 1.5.
With the first delivery, about 750,000 vaccine doses of the Biontech/Pfizer vaccine and about 290,000 doses of the adapted Moderna vaccine will reach Austria. They should be used as booster vaccinations or a fourth shot. The original ones will still be used to complete basic immunisation (in Austria, that means three doses).
Government looking to ‘pass on’ unused vaccines
There is no risk of vaccine shortages in the European Union, Austria’s Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) said.
On the contrary: “Everyone currently has too many vaccines”, the minister added.
Austria currently has about 17 million doses in stock, and there are 6.8 million partially vaccinated people. The minister wants to make it easier to “pass on” vaccines that are not needed, he said.
“The passing on of doses is strictly regulated in the contracts. I am trying very hard to keep the global south in mind as well”, Rauch stated.
Covid stats in Austria
On Tuesday, Austria recorded 4,247 new corona infections in the past 24 hours, slightly more than the average of the last seven days (4,063).
The total number of active confirmed infections decreased by 2,818 compared to Monday, reported by the Ministry of the Interior and Ministry of Health.
The number of hospital patients with corona also fell slightly to 939. Fifty-four people were being cared for in intensive care units (nine fewer than on Monday and 15 fewer than the week before).
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The seven-day incidence is now 315 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. These infections were detected with the help of 133,696 PCR and antigen rapid tests, of which 101,873 were PCR tests.
Since Monday, there have been 13 more deaths. On a seven-day average, 6.9 people died every day. There were 48 deaths in total last week and 19,455 since the pandemic outbreak.