Luxembourg rolls out doctor's practice vaccination
General practitioners (GPs) in Luxembourg started administering Covid jabs on Monday, joining Germany and France’s approach, as vaccination centres gradually close their doors.
It starts just a day after Pfizer and Moderna raised the price of their vaccines by more than a quarter and more than a tenth, respectively.
More than 60% of people living in Luxembourg have had at least one vaccine dose and almost half are already fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data.
On Monday four GP surgeries, in Esch-sur-Alzette, Mersch, Redange-sur-Attert and Strassen, began administering the Pfizer-BioNtech, Johnson&Johnson or AstraZeneca shots. From next week more surgeries are expected to inoculate, the health ministry announced on Friday.
Anyone aged 12 and older and cross-border workers who are registered with the national health service, CNS, are able to get a Covid vaccine in Luxembourg, the health ministry said.
Authorities are trying to reach those who have not yet received a jab ahead of the autumn and winter, particularly health workers. A ‘vaccine bus’ will tour Luxembourg's hospitals, care and retirement homes to give staff easy access to vaccines, the health ministry announced last week. Low vaccine uptake among health workers was one of the criticisms cited in the so-called Waringo report, which looked into deaths in Luxembourg's care homes.
Pfizer, Moderna price hike
One person developed Guillain–Barré syndrome, a rare muscle weakness caused by the immune system, after receiving the AstraZeneca jab, Health Minister Paulette Lenert said on Monday. Guillain-Barré is one of the possible side effects listed for the AstraZeneca and Johnson&Johnson shots. In Luxembourg more than 130,000 doses of both vaccines have been given out since the rollout started six months ago.
The EU Commission - which is in charge of obtaining vaccines for the EU – previously said it would not extend contracts with AstraZeneca and Johnson&Johnson. Instead, it signed new agreements with Pfizer and Moderna for a total of up to 2.1 billion shots until 2023.
In the latest EU contracts, Pfizer and Moderna raised the price of their vaccines, the Financial Times reported on Sunday. The new price for one Pfizer shot was €19.50 instead of €15.50, while the price of a Moderna jab was $25.50 (€21.45) per dose, up from $22.60 (€19), the Financial Times said.
As EU countries are registering a slowdown in vaccine demand and an uptick in new infections, pressure is mounting on unvaccinated people to get a jab. In France people need to show a Covid health certificate from Monday onwards to go to restaurants, bars and cinemas. A law passed last week also requires French health workers to get vaccinated by September or face suspension without pay.
Luxembourg's government has repeatedly refused to introduce mandatory vaccinations, also for healthcare workers.
On Monday, the UK opened quarantine-free travel to fully vaccinated US and EU travellers - with the exception of France. Luxembourg dropped the quarantine mandate for travellers returning from the UK on Saturday, but British citizens who do not live in Luxembourg still need an essential reason to travel to the Grand-Duchy, according to the Foreign Ministry.
Several European countries are currently registering an uptick in cases linked to the more transmissible Delta variant - previously called the Indian variant which is now dominant in Luxembourg. However, the vast majority of new infections have come from people who have not been vaccinated, with about 3% of those infected since the start of the year having been fully vaccinated.