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Berlin converts its old airports to COVID-19 vaccination centers

Berlin converts its old airports to COVID-19 vaccination centers

Berlin city officials announced that of the city’s closed airports will be converted into COVID-19 vaccination centers capable of servicing thousands of people a day.

German capital’s long standing Tegel Airport that served as one of the gateways to the city for 60 years was permanently shut down in early November.

Now, a large ‘welcome’ sign still hanging over its entrance will get an entirely new meaning as Tegel’s Terminal C is about to become one of Berlin’s six COVID-19 vaccination hubs.

“We will be vaccinating 3,000 to 4,000 people a day,” Albrecht Broemme, the man in charge of Berlin’s vaccination hubs construction project, said, speaking of the future capabilities of the airport.

Tegel, however, will not be the only such facility used for vaccination as a similar center is scheduled to be set up at Tempelhof – another former airport closed back in 2008 that has already served as a velodrome, a refugee center and an ice rink.

Berlin expects to get some 900,000 jabs from America’s Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTEch companies in the first batch. Since any person would need to get the jab twice, that would be enough to vaccinate some 450,000 people out of a 3.7 million-strong city population.

The city authorities plan to start the vaccination campaign by the end of the year. “We are preparing for December as the earliest possible date,” said Berlin Health Minister Dilek Kalayci. She also said that the combined capacities of six hubs would make it possible to vaccinate 20,000 people a day.

“The general idea is to vaccinate as many people as possible one after the other,” Broemme, 60, said, adding that people’s safety and social distancing measures would still be of great importance during the vaccination.

On Friday, 22,806 new cases were recorded across Germany, up from 18,633 reported on Wednesday, according to the Robert Koch Institute. The nation also saw a record single-day increase in coronavirus-linked deaths, 426.

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