Doctors' offices: vaccination will not start until mid-April?

The doctor’s practices should get a vaccination license by mid-April at the latest. But after tough consultations by the federal and state governments, it becomes clear that everything is not that easy

Many have been waiting for weeks for more push for the slow corona vaccinations. Frustration about scarce vaccines and overloaded appointment hotlines have dominated the picture so far. The breakthrough should bring larger delivery quantities, the inclusion of the dense network of practices and changes to the vaccination ordinance. But even in April, many people will have to wait a little longer until the protective sting - an overview:

When should it start in the practices?

As early as possible, but at the latest in six weeks - in the 16th calendar week. A corresponding recommendation decided the

Federal and State Minister of Health. The decision is a matter for the boss - Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the Prime Ministers should decide on it. «Timely», as announced by government spokesman Steffen Seibert. However, individual countries can also declare that they will not participate at all for the time being.

Is there a massive amount of vaccine in the practices?

Not so fast. How much vaccine will be delivered in April is still unclear. It has been decided, however, that the vaccination centers and teams in the federal states receive 2.25 million doses continuously every week. "The amount of vaccines available per week that exceeds the weekly delivery to the countries is delivered to the doctor's offices and is routinely vaccinated there."

How much vaccine is coming soon?

According to the ministry, Biontech / Pfizer should have 3.23 million cans from the beginning of next week to the end of March, Astrazeneca 2.54 million cans from Thursday to Easter and 1.1 million cans from Moderna by Easter. The bottom line is that around 7 million cans should arrive within around three weeks. If the delivery quantities do not increase significantly in April, there will not be too much left for the practices. A short-term addition is to come to these already known quantities, because Biontech and Pfizer want to deliver four million extra doses to the EU in the next two weeks, which will then be distributed to the states.

Why wasn't vaccination in the practices right from the start?

Because the vaccine is sometimes very sensitive and was initially very rare. So the agent from Biontech and Pfizer has to be strongly cooled. Nevertheless, according to the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV), it can also be inoculated in practices because it can be stored for 120 hours at refrigerator temperatures. In the beginning it was mainly people over the age of 80 and employees and residents of nursing homes who were vaccinated; other groups followed suit. And when the vaccine is scarce, some doctors could have difficulties with “their patients” with the correct sequence of vaccinations, explained the head of the Standing Vaccination Commission, Thomas Mertens.

Where is Germany currently in vaccination?

According to the Ministry of Health, 12.5 million vaccine doses had been delivered and almost 8.2 million doses injected by Tuesday. Almost 5.6 million people received at least one first vaccination dose, 2.6 million of whom already received both necessary doses. The products from Biontech / Pfizer, Astrazeneca and Moderna are injected. More and more federal states are now vaccinating teachers, educators and police officers to a greater or lesser extent. Mertens warned that the weakest and most endangered could initially go away empty-handed. For example, in Baden-Württemberg, where teachers could already be vaccinated, people over the age of 70 have recently become eligible for vaccination.

How big is the vaccination capacity anyway?

In the past seven days, around 1.8 million doses were injected - 237,000 on Tuesday alone. Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) had already spoken of the possibility of ten million vaccinations per week at the beginning of the week. The federal government has now dampened such high expectations again for the time being. Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) said on ZDF that the quantities would not grow that high in April. That is more realistic for June, said Seibert. In April, however, the vaccination campaign is expected to pick up speed.

What should vaccination bring in the practices?

An unbureaucratic way to quickly protect more people with increasing amounts of vaccine. More than 70,000 practices throughout the republic have experience with vaccinations against other pathogens. According to the KBV, the vaccination centers can provide around 550,000 vaccinations per day, which would be just under four million in 7 days. The practices could create around five million per week, according to the KBV. Statutory health insurance chief Andreas Gassen had pointed out that prioritization was of secondary importance for the spread of the virus - it was important that many were vaccinated.

How should vaccination work in practices?

There are well-established processes for this. Wholesalers are supposed to deliver the vaccines to pharmacies, from where they are brought to the practices. The doctors should make their own decisions based on the prioritization recommendations.

Will more change?

Yes. A new vaccination ordinance from Spahn comes into effect retrospectively on Monday. Then the Astrazeneca vaccine, which was initially reserved for younger people due to a lack of sufficient data on the elderly, can now be injected to anyone over the age of 18. In Saxony, Bavaria, Saarland and possibly other countries, everyone can be vaccinated in corona hotspots at the border, beyond all priorities, in order to create a kind of protective bar for vaccinated people. And a smaller amount of vaccine should be set aside for the second vaccination.

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