In Germany, frustration is growing about the slow-moving vaccination campaign. A shortage of vaccines, a shortage of health workers and the advanced age of the first group to turn are delayed.
Many of the large vaccination centers that can inject up to 300,000 people per day are not yet fully operational or even open. For the time being, the focus is on mobile teams that visit nursing homes, but this process is not always smooth.
The vaccination teams run into all kinds of problems, Annette Rommel – who oversees the vaccination process in Thuringia – describes to the Frankfurter Algemeine. “Some are well prepared. Then all documents are pre-filled and everyone is informed. Others are completely surprised by the existence of corona.”
Rommel sees people who first do not want to be vaccinated and later anyway, elderly people who first need an interpreter, or people who do not want an injection because their child is not there.
There are also German nursing homes that do not have WiFi, which means that the systems of the German RIVM (RKI, ed.) Cannot be updated. The large amount of paperwork is a major obstacle anyway.
‘Don’t want to make people feel like a number’
Things are also not going smoothly with elderly people living on their own in the vaccination centers.
“There are people who haven’t spoken to anyone for months. They just want to have a chat,” says Anja Brückner, who runs the vaccination center in Hösbach.
“We don’t want to make people feel like a number, but our prods and doctors don’t really have time to chat.”
The United Kingdom has already vaccinated four times as many people
Due to all the obstacles, according to the RKI, a maximum of around 50,000 Germans are vaccinated per day. Germany has vaccinated 533,000 people in the first two weeks since the first vaccine. The United Kingdom has roughly four times as many people.
A shortage of vaccines also plays a major role in the rough start. Health Minister Jens Spahn: “With the capacity we now have, we can vaccinate 250,000 to 300,000 people a day, provided we get the vaccines”.
Those vaccines are on the way. Germany expects to receive 5.3 million doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine by mid-February. The recently approved Moderna vaccine must also have been delivered to Germany two million times by the end of March.
All together, this is just enough to vaccinate the first group, the 5.7 million Germans over the age of eighty. BioNTech hopes to open an additional production facility domestically in February, where their vaccine, launched together with Pfizer, should roll off the production line. This is under construction in centrally located Marburg.
A mobile vaccination team from the Red Cross leaves the vaccination center in Dillenburg.
‘GPs just have to get the vaccine in their practice’
While vaccination rates vary widely in many German states, doctors are angry about the appointment and booking system. This also differs greatly from state to state and creates confusion and reduces confidence in the vaccine.
As soon as there is a vaccine that can be stored fairly easily, all GPs should simply get it in their own practice, says Berlin doctor Burkhard Ruppert. Reuters.
“In Germany, we are strong in ambulatory care. We are not a country that runs large-scale systems like the UK or Israel,” said Ruppert.
“We will only win this if we vaccinate as many people as possible as soon as possible”, the Berlin doctor is realistic. “We are in a race against the virus.”