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Officials in Germany say they are harnessing the potential for mass attacks vaccination centers under consideration as they establish sites to prepare for European Union regulators authorizing the first coronavirus vaccinations

Britain gave the green light on Wednesday for the emergency use of a vaccine made by German firm BioNTech and US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. The European Medicines Agency has indicated that it cannot decide whether to grant its authorization until December 29, some two weeks later than Germany had hoped to launch a national immunization campaign.

A general view of the vaccine center under construction at the Mercedes-Benz Arena concert hall during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in Berlin, Germany. Berlin is converting six locations across the city to provide mass vaccines against COVID-19. (Getty)
A planned vaccination center at the Arena Berlin event venue in Berlin, Germany. (AP)

The former director of Germany’s civil protection agency, Albrecht Broemme, was tasked with establishing six mass vaccination centers in Berlin. He said security issues have yet to be resolved.

Unlike hospitals, which tend to be treated with respect, “in centers, people who oppose vaccination or others who are willing to use violence may say ‘We’re going to set this on fire because we think vaccines are stupid, ‘”said Broemme.

Broemme plans to have “intense talks” with police and private security companies about protecting Berlin’s vaccination centers, although he added that no concrete threats have been made so far.

A small but noisy minority in Germany have held regular protests against restrictions imposed by the authorities for the pandemic. They argue that the limits on social contacts, the closure of some companies and the mask requirements are an unnecessary infringement of their rights.

Berlin authorities present the construction of a planned vaccination center during a media event at the Arena Berlin event site in Berlin, Germany. (AP)
A vaccine candidate sits in the waiting room with a mouth guard in Mainz, Germany. (AP)

Opponents of the public health measures overlap with members of anti-vaccination groups who claim, despite repeated insistence by the government to the contrary, that COVID-19 injections will be mandatory.

A spokesman for the German Interior Ministry said security agencies were alert to the problem.

“I am not aware of a specific threat scenario,” ministry spokesman Markus Lammert told reporters in Berlin, adding: “In any case, we are unable to provide factual information and operational details.”

Germany recorded 23,449 more confirmed cases of the virus on Friday, bringing the country’s total since the start of the pandemic to 1,130,237 and continuing a pattern of infection figures that stagnate at a high level. Germany’s disease control agency said virus-related deaths rose by 432 in 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 18,034.

A man in a protective suit takes a sample for a coronavirus test from an elderly woman in Rathmannsdorf, Germany. (AP)

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