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World News

Germany asks military to provide safe storage for COVID-19 vaccines

FILE PHOTO: A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Vaccine COVID-19" sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s health ministry has approached the military for help in ensuring safe storage of potential vaccines against COVID-19, a spokesman for the defence ministry in Berlin said on Tuesday.

More than 6,000 German troops are already supporting the authorities in the battle against the pandemic, most of them reinforcing overstretched local health authority staff trying to trace people with whom infected people have come into contact.

“We have been providing logistical support since the start of the pandemic, making storage space available for material like protective masks and medical supplies in our military premises, for example,” the defence ministry spokesman said.

“We would do the same in this case,” he said regarding the storage of vaccines, adding that talks with the health ministry on this were ongoing.

Pfizer and BioNTech became the first drugmakers on Monday to release successful vaccine trial data, saying their product had shown to be more than 90% effective.

The handling of the genetic compound may prove tricky, though. BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin told Reuters that it would have to be shipped and centrally stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius.

Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Editing by Michelle Adair

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