After the painfully slow start to the inoculation campaign in Germany, a new stage is beginning this week: 35,000 GPs nationwide are planning to give residents vaccinations against coronavirus.
Some practices were due to start on Tuesday April 6th, while others are still waiting for vaccine doses and want to follow in the next few days.
Since the start of the rollout at the end of December, injections have so far been administered mainly in the 430 vaccination centres nationwide.
Initially, only a small supply of doses is available to family doctors. In the first week, all practices together will receive 940,000 vaccine doses a week.
In purely mathematical terms, that is about 26 doses per practice per week. In the week of April 26th, however, there will be a significant boost to resources – and at that point GPs can expect a total of more than three million doses each week.
How will vaccinating work at GPs?
GP practices have to follow the fixed priority order of who can be vaccinated first in Germany.
There is no central invitation programme for vaccinating patients, according to the federal Health Ministry. The practices can regulate how they allocate vaccination appointments themselves – for example by phone or with online bookings.
Some family doctors have been vaccinating for some time as part of pilot projects – and in Bavaria jabs by GPs started last week in 1,635 practices.
Calls to speed up vaccine campaign
This weeks marks the second quarter the vaccination campaign when more Covid vaccines are expected after scarce supplies in the first quarter of the year.
The Association of Private Health Insurers (Verband der Privaten Krankenversicherung, PKV) is calling on the federal government to quickly push ahead with vaccines.
“The start of the vaccination campaign, also through GP practices, is the right step, but it is not enough to get the coronavirus vaccine to as many people as possible as quickly as at all possible,” association director Florian Reuther told DPA.
“Already at this stage politicians must prepare the next step and make vaccination possible in companies and with all other groups of doctors and dentists as soon as vaccine supplies increase as expected in the next few weeks.”
Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) had said at the end of March that company doctors should only join the vaccination campaign after GPs.
“There is still too little,” Spahn said of the available doses. He said he found it difficult to vaccinate younger employees of companies as long as the older ones were not yet protected.
But Reuther said the infrastructure of company doctors was particularly suitable. “We already have numerous requests from health insurance companies whose company doctors are immediately available to vaccinate their work forces – but unfortunately are not allowed to order vaccine at the moment,” he said.
Many companies had also offered to vaccinate employees’ family members as well. In Reuther’s view, this would also make sense. He called on the federal government to solve the necessary organisational issues now – “and not only when the vaccines are piling up in the yard”.
GPs/general practitioners – (die) Hausärzte (or der Hausarzt as singular)
Surgeries/practices- (die) Praxen (or die Praxis as singular)
Vaccination centres – (die) Impfzentren
Vaccination appointment (der) Impftermin
Company doctor/in-house doctor – (der) Betriebsarzt
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