BERLIN (AP) – Austria is taking ambitious steps to vaccinate residents of a region particularly hard hit by the virus first discovered in South Africa as part of a vaccine research program.
According to the Austrian news agency APA, about 48,500 out of 64,000 eligible residents in the Schwaz district of Tyrol province have registered for the vaccine.
Health Minister Rudolf Anschober said the area would offer vaccine wounds to anyone over the age of 16.
The district, located east of the capital of Innsbruck, home to about 84,000 people, has been a source of concern for weeks. As of last week, it accounted for 66 of the 88 actively confirmed cases of the more transmissible version in the region, APA reported.
The version first discovered in South Africa is a source of particular concern, as there are doubts that all currently available vaccines are fully effective against it.
Announcing the plan last week, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said it was an opportunity for Austria to “abolish the Schwyz region option.”
In preparation for the administration, the region received a special tranche of 10,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from the European Union. It will be used in 26 different facilities created in 39 municipalities of the area.
The Schwaz vaccine plan is part of a South African version of the vaccine research project. The observer will be national-international ազգային virology experts.
At the end of the day, the mandatory tests for anyone leaving Tyrol will be completed, but for those leaving Schwaz, such tests will continue for another two weeks. The inspections will take place at 14 different checkpoints, APA reports.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 475,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Austria, with almost 8,600 deaths. More than 650,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered in almost 9 million countries.
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