On the first day of the free issue, queues formed in front of some Hamburg pharmacies. “We have a lot to do, some pharmacies no longer have masks,” said the President of the Hamburg Chamber of Pharmacists, Kai-Peter Siemsen. Siemsen reported that a long line had formed in front of his own pharmacy in Eilbek that morning, and at times he even ran out of FFP-2 masks. The issue could only continue in the afternoon after masks were fetched from an external warehouse.
According to an initial estimate by the Chamber of Pharmacists, two thirds of the pharmacies had the masks in stock. However, several reported that they were out of stock quickly.
More than 600,000 hamburgers are eligible
The pharmacies only had a little time to place the orders – Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) had only last week made his plan known. The Chamber of Pharmacists estimates that more than 600,000 people in Hamburg are entitled to the masks.
Bring your ID card
In a first step, people over 60 and people with certain chronic diseases should be able to get three masks free of charge from the pharmacy from Tuesday. The time to collect is until January 6th. According to information from the Ministry of Health, it is sufficient to present the identity card “or the comprehensible self-disclosure about belonging to one of the risk groups”. Another person can also be authorized to collect the goods.
Health insurance companies should send out coupons later
In the second step, from January 1st, authorized persons can receive a further twelve masks. For this, they should receive coupons from the health insurance company for two times six FFP2 masks each – an own contribution of two euros each for six masks is provided. The campaign will cost the federal government around 2.5 billion euros.
These groups have a claim:
According to the Federal Ministry of Health, there is a right to protective masks if the insured have reached the age of 60 or one of the following diseases or one of the following risk factors present:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or bronchial asthma
- Chronic heart failure
- Chronic renal failure stage ≥ 4
- Dementia or stroke
- Diabetes mellitus Typ 2
- Active, progressive, or metastatic cancer or ongoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy
- Organ or stem cell transplantation that has taken place
- Trisomy 21
- High risk pregnancy
FFP2 masks do not offer complete protection either
FFP2 masks are particularly effective at filtering particles from inhaled or exhaled air, but they also do not offer 100% protection. “An FFP2 mask is not a free ticket. All other infection protection rules should continue to be observed. This includes hand washing, keeping your distance, airing and using the Corona warning app,” said the President of the Federal Association of German Pharmacists’ Associations, Friedemann Schmidt.