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Reprinted with permission from ProPublica

As the first coronavirus vaccine takes a major stride toward approval, state governments' distribution plans show many are not ready to deliver the shots.

The challenge is especially steep in rural areas, many of which are contending with a surge of infections, meaning that access to the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines may be limited by geography.

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The German government has confirmed a report that Donald Trump tried to get exclusive rights to any future coronavirus vaccines being developed by a German research firm.

According to the report from Die Welt, Trump offered the firm CureVac a “large sum” — up to $1 billion — for access to the forthcoming vaccine, “but for the US only.”

The German government expressed its strong opposition to any such acquisition. German Health Minister Jens Spahn said it is “off the table” for the Trump administration to take over CureVac, and that the vaccine will be developed “for the whole world” and “not for individual countries,” the Guardian reported.

According to the New York Times, Trump first made the offer to Daniel Menichella, then the CEO of CureVac, during a March 2 meeting at the White House.

In a statement the day after the meeting, Menichella said he was “very confident that we will be able to develop a potent vaccine candidate within a few months.”

Menichella is now out as CEO, according to a company announcement on March 11, which gave no explanation about why Menichella was abruptly leaving the company after leading it for two years.

CureVac did not comment on Menichella’s departure, according to the New York Times.

Meanwhile, the Times reported that German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said he had heard about the Trump administration’s effort to gain exclusive access to CureVac’s possible vaccine “from several members of the government” and that a “crisis team” of German officials will discuss the effort in a meeting on Monday.

Germany’s economic affairs minister, Peter Altmaier, lauded CureVac for not taking the Trump administration’s offer.

“It was a great decision,” Altmaier said on a German television show Sunday night, according to the Times. “Germany is not for sale.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.