How did Germany turbocharge its vaccine rollout – and what can it do better?
Since the start of April, Germany has shifted gear on its vaccine rollout, breaking European records on the number of jabs delivered in a day. What happened - and can it keep up the momentum?
Published: 11 May 2021 17:15 CEST
Updated: 15 May 2021 09:17 CEST
Updated: 15 May 2021 09:17 CEST
People waiting for the AstraZeneca vaccine after a doctor set up a clinic in a supermarket in Pforzheim, Baden Württemberg. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Schmidt
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“What can Germany do better?”
Thank you very much for this article.
I consider that the German Federal government issued a very good action plan for vaccination of the people living in the country (namely, the prioritization law – Impfverordung). But unfortunately, the Federal government did not develop a clear implementation plan for this action plan (perhaps leaving it for the State governments). Permanent changes in the action plan and in its implementation do not add to the solution of the problem, and make it even worse. And here is a major problem.
1. What does the prioritization mean if there is no chance to get an appointment in the vaccination centers since January? My wife and I belong to priority group 2 (paragraph 3, no. 2 of the Impfverordung), and we were neither invited for a vaccination center, nor we had a chance to get an appointment for a vaccination. I have no time to call 116117 every hour or even every day for an appointment – but when I was successful once (by end April), a soft calm women voice explained me that there is no space for an appointment (“And sorry that I cannot assist you”, she told). The website 116117 is even more funny place – since January (!) when trying to get an appointment, I get the same report: “No free dates were found in your region. Please try again later … As soon as sufficient vaccine and capacity is available, vaccination centers will post more appointments.” It is better just to close down the service as useless …
A normal appointment procedure in the situation of a lack of products (e.g. vaccines) would be to place people in a waiting list according to their priority certified by a doctor or by a passport/ID, and people could see a progress in the waiting list and access the time before they get an appointment. This procedure would be transparent for all, and could help a lot.
2. In April, physicians have been allowed to vaccinate people. Great! But in practice, it is almost impossible to get an appointment because of a few major issues. The first one is the number of vaccines they receive everyday. The number of those who wants to be vaccinated is greater than the number of vaccines. The second issue is the old problem with appointments of privately and statutory insured people – a privately-insured person will get an appointment at first. So, even we have an excellent Hausartzin and on a list of vaccination, there is a little chance to get it before 7 June, when the prioritization will be dropped. Here a question arises: why the prioritization was introduced if it did not reach its goal, and people even from Group 2 are not yet vaccinated?
3. In the situation, when there is no formal ways to get a vaccine shot, people start to think about informal ways. But this may contradict the law and equality rights. Moreover, the new regulations related to the “more freedom” for vaccinated people would not add to the solution of the existing serious problem, but make it worse. Too bad, if it happens in Germany, the economically most developed European country! Let us hope for the best …