German Chancellor Angela Merkel holds a News conference after meeting with vaccine producers and Germany’s state prime ministers for a “vaccine discussion” via video conference, in Berlin, Germany, February 1, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel reaffirmed on Monday the government pledge to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to all German citizens by the end of the summer.

Merkel made the remarks after a video meeting with leaders of federal states on possible improvement for the rollout of the country’s vaccination program.

Given the current supply commitments, Merkel said, this target was possible even with the three vaccines already approved by the EU, from BioNTech/Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca. With further approvals, there could be even larger supply.

Before the meeting, however, Health Minister Jens Spahn had told local media that a few more weeks of vaccine shortages could still be expected.

Robert Koch Institute, the public health institute in Germany, reported on Monday 5,608 new confirmed cases within the past 24 hours, bringing the total tally to 2,221,971. Meanwhile, 175 new deaths were reported, taking the toll to 57,120. To date, the total number of vaccinations in Germany stands at 2,467,918.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in many European countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.

Meanwhile, 237 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide — 63 of them in clinical trials — in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on Jan. 29.