Order of Merit for BioNTech founders
Within a very short space of time Özlem Türeci and Uğur Şahin and their company BioNTech managed to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. It was the first to be approved in the European Union. In recognition of their achievement, the two scientists were presented with the Knight Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in the presence of Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier presented the Orders of Merit in Berlin. Özlem Türeci and Uğur Şahin’s contribution was crucial in containing the pandemic, he said. Their courage, their drive and their confidence that they would prevail were impressive. “Your ground-breaking discovery is saving lives, it is saving livelihoods, it is ensuring our social, economic and cultural survival,” he declared. “Every person vaccinated brings us one small step closer to the everyday life we miss, and to the people we love.”