German teachers, nursery workers could get vaccine sooner: health minister

FILE PHOTO: German health minister holds news conference on pandemic situation
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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Primary school teachers and nursery workers in Germany could get a COVID-19 vaccine sooner than originally planned, the country's Health Minister Jens Spahn said.

In its vaccination strategy, Germany has defined three groups of the population to make sure those in need, including people aged 80 or more, get their shots first. So far, teachers and childcare workers are part of the last group.

"We want to add that group swiftly to the second cluster now and offer vaccines earlier," Spahn said at a public panel.

His comments come as ten of Germany's 16 federal states are set to reopen nurseries and elementary schools from Feb. 22.

The German government has faced criticism for its relatively slow pace of vaccinations, and businesses have been increasingly impatient for an easing of the lockdown, now in its fourth month, especially with case numbers drifting downwards.

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Bernadette Baum)