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Snowy Open Thread: Expiring Unwanted Expensive Covid Vaccine Edition

Snowy Open Thread: Expiring Unwanted Expensive Covid Vaccine Edition

Today, southern Bavaria is covered in snow. No trains are running, the Munich airport is closed, many shops have not opened, and children are enjoying fierce snowball fights before the offices of the plague chronicle. The trees bend under the weight of their white blankets; one of them (thankfully not very big) leans gently against my house. Early this morning, our eager snow clearers were hard at work with their miniature shoveling machines, but they seem to have given up, so it is hard even to walk anywhere. I had big plans for a weekend in the city, and perhaps a brief post with photographs of the Christmas markets, but they are closed and it is impossible to travel. For the moment I will enjoy a glass of red wine and wait for the press to explain to me how this is all due to global warming.

In the meantime, I offer you choice extracts from Die Zeit, where reporters have just noticed, as they periodically do, that our government has wasted billions of Euros on unneeded vaccine doses, which will now have to be binned because nobody wants them:

The warehouses of the federal government are overflowing with Covid vaccine doses that hardly anyone wants any more. This year alone, 95 million doses expired in the central warehouses and had to be destroyed; since the start of the pandemic, the total is 149 million. …

Thus about a third of the 458 million doses delivered to Germany so far have expired – almost enough to jab every German citizen twice more. The true number is likely to be even higher, as many doses are being distributed from the central warehouses. There is no central recording of how many doses have expired in the hands of pharmacies or wholesalers.

I would guess that the true expiration rate, so far, is at least 40%. And, as Die Zeit goes on to explain, the expiration rate will keep rising, because the government is sitting on a further 56 million (mostly) unwanted doses as I type this.

The cost of the surplus vaccines is likely to run into billions. This is money that the German government could really use in view of the current budget crisis. In absolute figures, surplus Covid vaccine doses exceed excess vaccine for the feared swine flu pandemic in 2009, which never materialised. Back then, the government ordered 34 million doses of swine flu vaccine, 29 million of which had to be destroyed … How can it be that politicians made the same mistake again?

How indeed.

Altogether, Germany bought 670 million doses of Covid vaccine, “enough to vaccinate everyone in the country eight times.” They spent 13.1 billion Euros on this boondoggle, equivalent to the entire 2023 budget of the Ministry of Family Affairs, including all the parental and child benefits they pay out.

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