The reason for the emptiness on the vaccination streets is, in addition to the complicated scheduling, the skepticism about the third approved vaccine: AZD1222 from the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. So far, only people in the highest priority group who are younger than 65 years of age, especially care workers for the elderly and medical staff with a very high risk of infection, are vaccinated.
But only a few of them have taken up so far. In Berlin, for example, at the Tegel vaccination center, where only AZD1222 is vaccinated, up to 3800 people per day can receive their injections under full load. In fact, barely 200 people wanted to be vaccinated every day in the past few days.
The German Red Cross Saxony reported more than 2500 free appointments.
By Friday, of around 1.5 million AZD1222 cans delivered in Germany, just 150,000 had been inoculated. It is difficult to imagine how the goal of herd immunity (immune protection in around 70 percent of the population), where every individual vaccinated is important, can be achieved quickly.
The vaccination routes are ready, the vaccine is there and so are the vaccination teams. But the vaccine is left behind because not enough people from the first priority group register or do not show up for the appointment. This is an absurd and unbearable situation, ”comments health expert Karl Lauterbach (SPD, 57). He asked BILD am SONNTAG: “With the AstraZeneca vaccine, we should now unbureaucratically open the vaccination centers to everyone under the age of 65 from the first three priority groups.
The n we could finally fully utilize the vaccination centers. ”
Klaus Heckemann (65), general practitioner and head of statutory health insurance physicians in Saxony, goes even further. “I think it’s right to vaccinate without prioritization and thus make the AstraZeneca vaccine available to everyone,” he told the MDR. If the vaccine wasn’t opened to everyone, it could be taken off the market right away. Virologist Alexander Kekulé (62) from the University of Halle-Wittenberg says: “I think it would be right to offer excess doses to people who are actually not yet in line.”
Martina Wenker (62), President of the Lower Saxony Medical Association, is certain that there are more than enough people who want to be vaccinated for the AZD1222. “In the current situation we absolutely cannot afford to leave the vaccine behind,” she told BILD am SONNTAG. She suggests that all vaccination centers set up a reserve bank at the beginning of the week – a list with mobile phone numbers of those willing to vaccinate in the next priority groups.
The y could then be contacted spontaneously when vaccine is available. “A vaccination happy hour at which clusters of people would form in front of the vaccination center, on the other hand, is not a good idea,” says Wenker. “That would give a punch and a sting.”
The immunologist Leif-Erik Sander (43) from the Berlin Charité also considers waiting lists for those willing to be vaccinated to be useful. “Under no circumstances should a situation arise in which we leave vaccine doses unused or in which the progress of the vaccination campaign is clearly delayed because people do not take up their vaccination offer.” In addition, the AstraZeneca vaccine is better than its reputation. All vaccines available to date would provide almost 100 percent protection against severe Covid 19 disease. “That is actually the convincing argument to get vaccinated.”
Thomas Mertens (70), the chairman of the Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO), points out that the current recommendation already allows you to switch to the next prioritization group if there is local availability. For Berlin, the governing mayor Michael Müller (SPD, 56) has proposed that teachers, educators, police, fire brigade and possibly also employees of retail and local transport be supplied more quickly with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
On Monday, Health Minister Jens Spahn will be discussing with federal state ministers whether vaccinations can be brought forward for primary school teachers and kindergarten teachers with AstraZeneca.
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