German Research Minister Anja Karliczek said in Berlin on Tuesday that vaccine for the novel coronavirus would not be widely available before the middle of next year,
Karliczek stressed the importance of ensuring that a vaccine is confirmed to be safe.
“We will not deviate from this line in Germany and Europe,” she said, flanked by Health Minister Jens Spahn and Klaus Cichutek, president of Germany’s PEI research institute and medical regulator.
Spahn said that all vaccine trials would be conducted up to phase 3, meaning the treatment would be tested on several thousand volunteers before being given the green light.
The minister also insisted that vaccination would be entirely voluntary.
Spahn said he was confident that enough people will sign up to get vaccinated to meet the population quota of 55-66 per cent required for herd immunity.
Germany has launched a 750-million-euro (892-million-dollar) fund to support vaccine developers in quickly and effectively developing safe treatments.
Mainz-based firm BioNTech, which is working together with U.S. drug maker Pfizer, is to receive 375 million euros, while CureVac is to get 252 million euros.
Karliczek said a third company, IDT Biologika, is also to be given financial support.
She did not give a figure as talks with the firm are ongoing.
According to the World Health Organisation, around 170 projects are currently involved in the global race to find a coronavirus vaccine, 26 of which are conducting test vaccinations.
In August, Russia became the first country to make a vaccine widely available.
But the announcement was met with international condemnation because it came before phase-3 testing had been completed. (dpa/NAN)