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Germany moves to jabs for all as Ukraine struggles and UK fears Indian variant

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By Evelyn Laverick
Vaccination campaign in Germany
Vaccination campaign in Germany   -   Copyright  EBU - DEZDF

Germany is scrapping its COVID vaccine priority list and is to offer jabs to all adults from June 7.

The move means anyone aged 16 and up will be eligible for a vaccine in Germany, ending the existing priority criteria based on age, jobs, and pre-existing medical conditions.

Jens Spahn, the German health minister said "everyone in Germany who wants to be vaccinated to protect themselves and others will be able to receive such a vaccination offer in the coming weeks and well into the summer."

But as Berlin steps up its vaccine rollout the World Health Organization has underlined a huge shortfall in vaccine supply to COVAX - the international vaccine sharing scheme

A surge in covid cases has compromised the global vaccine supply and 190 million doses are needed by the end of June.

"Pfizer has committed to providing 40 million doses of vaccines with COVAX this year, but the majority of these would be in the second half of 2021. We need doses right now and I call on them to bring forward deliveries as soon as possible," said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

Ukraine is one country struggling to get shots in arms. Just 8,300 people have received their second jab – a country of 42 million citizens. Political infighting and economic problems are partly to blame.

“The competition at the world market for vaccines have made it really difficult for Ukraine to scale up its vaccination program," said Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF representative.

It's party time in the UK with the easing of restrictions even seeing the return of indoor drinking in pubs.

But the health secretary Matt Hancock is concerned about the spread of the new highly contagious variant.

"There are now 86 local authorities where there are five or more confirmed cases. The next biggest cause of concern is Bedford where we are surging, testing"

But according to lab-based studies in the US, the Pfizer and Moderna Covid vaccines show a limited reduction in effectiveness against the variant.