Germany's vaccine rollout gets shot in the arm from doctors surgeries
BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's COVID-19 vaccination drive has picked up speed with more than 650,000 doses administered on Wednesday, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) showed on Thursday, supercharged by extending the rollout to family doctors.
The RKI said Germany administered 656,357 doses of COVID-19 vaccines on Wednesday, almost 300,000 more than the number of shots given the previous day. Of these, 305,664 were delivered in doctors surgeries.
The rise in the number of daily vaccinations is the first sign that bringing family doctors on board will add more firepower to Germany's rollout, which has been hampered by supply constraints and bureaucracy.
Germany relied on mass vaccination centres and mobile teams in the first phase of its campaign, believing this would be the most efficient way to administer doses given lumpy deliveries and the need to store some vaccines at ultra-cold temperatures.
But problems booking appointments, scepticism about the AstraZeneca vaccine, and missing data on those eligible to get inoculated delayed progress.
Germany's family doctors started giving people vaccines this week. Berlin plans to supply doctors with a million doses per week rising to three million by the end of April.
As of Thursday, 13.8% of the population had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the health ministry.
(Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Madeline Chambers)
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