Germany may start COVID-19 vaccine programme in December: health minister

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Session of the German lower house of parliament, in Berlin
Session of the German lower house of parliament, in Berlin

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany could start administering shots of COVID-19 vaccines as soon as next month, Health Minister Jens Spahn was quoted as saying.

"There is reason to be optimistic that there will be approval for a vaccine in Europe this year," Spahn said in an interview with publishing group RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland. "And then we can start right away."

Spahn said that he had asked Germany's federal states to have their vaccination centres ready by mid-December and that this was going well. "I would rather have a vaccination centre ready a few days early than an approved vaccine that isn't being used immediately."

Germany has secured more than 300 million vaccine doses via the European Commission, bilateral contracts and options, Spahn said, adding that this was more than enough and even left room to share with other countries.

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Hugh Lawson)