In order to “wipe out” the South African coronavirus mutant, the government wants to vaccinate the residents of Schwaz. For this, Tyrol receives 100,000 additional vaccination doses. The Neos criticize the “triage”, lawyer President Wolff is skeptical.
An exit test is required for the Tyrolean district of Schwaz, in which the South African mutant B.1.351 of the coronavirus is particularly widespread – its residents are also to be vaccinated. This was announced by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP), Minister of Health Rudolf Anschober (Greens), Tyrolean Governor Günther Platter (ÖVP) and his deputy Ingrid Felipe (Greens) on Wednesday. The vaccination should be scientifically accompanied and published in a study. The vaccination campaign – the vaccine is offered to all people aged 18 and over – is to begin with the second week of March.
One after the other: The media event began briefly on Wednesday with an overview of the Austria-wide corona situation: The seven-day incidence is currently 160. That means: “We are still having increasing numbers of infections to an extent that was to be expected.” He is therefore happy, according to the head of government, “that the population is making intensive use of the test facilities”. Austria is “one of the leading countries in Europe with over 2.5 million tests per week” for corona tests, and when it comes to corona vaccination, it is in seventh place in the EU.
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On Thursday he will travel to Israel and talk about a cooperation in vaccine production. Because: It is to be expected that further mutants of the Sars-CoV-2 pathogen will appear. The British and South African variants of the virus are currently spreading in Austria. The latter in particular represents a danger “for the way back to normality”, since one of the vaccines used in this country does not achieve the desired effect with it.
100,000 vaccines for Tyrol, mandatory testing for Schwaz
This is a problem in Tyrol in particular. As is well known, the “largest outbreak of the South African variant within the EU” occurred in February, as Kurz had said at the time, which is why everyone who wants to leave the state has had to be tested since then. This measure, which remains in place, has shown initial success, said Kurz on Wednesday: The active cases have halved from 200 to around 80.
Nevertheless, it is a matter of “extinguishing” the mutation, ie “reducing it to zero”. In order to achieve this, in addition to its existing contingent, Tyrol will receive 100,000 vaccines from Biontech / Pfizer for the particularly affected district of Schwaz. That was agreed with the EU Commission, said Kurz. The vaccine is to be offered to all those living in the Schwaz district who have already reached the age of 18.
“The state of Tyrol is particularly affected by this pandemic,” added Platter. Therefore, one now wants to act quickly. From the second week of March, the first vaccination – as well as a parallel study – should begin in order to scientifically document the steps. The second dose will follow after two weeks. In addition, a test is imposed: “If you leave the district, you need a test,” emphasized Platter. It should start around March 10th.
Anchober spoke of a “pandemic within a pandemic”. The reason for this is the spread of the named mutants, above all of B.1.1.7, i.e. the British variant. He identified a “first partial success” in the fact that the spread of the South African variant was slowed down in Tyrol. But: “We are not yet where we want to be.” Therefore, it is good that there is now an additional vaccine – whereby: Other federal states would not be disadvantaged, emphasized the Minister of Health. Similarly, the head of the vaccination department of the Ministry of Health, Maria Paulke-Korinek: The “extremely important study” in Schwaz will bring a lot of data on the effectiveness of the vaccine.
Neos locate “triage”, lawyers-president skeptical
The health spokesman for the Neos, Gerald Loacker, has a completely different opinion: “Now big politicians have always warned us against a triage, that is, that one gets something and the other doesn’t,” he played on past statements in an interview with the “press” from Kurz and Anschober on. “What is happening now is triage: The 26-year-old from Schwaz is preferred to an 82-year-old from another district, from another federal state.” In other words: “In the Austrian Impflotto, the Schwaz district cracked the jackpot.”