As of: 02/20/2021 7:31 p.m.
Many schools and daycare centers open at the beginning of the week. Health Minister Spahn promises that an earlier vaccination offer is getting closer for employees. The Standing Vaccination Commission will not adjust its recommendations for the time being.
Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn expects that educators and teaching staff in primary schools will soon be able to be vaccinated against the corona virus. Because it is socially important that daycare centers and primary schools can resume operations, the daycare center employees and primary school staff should be given priority in prioritizing, said Spahn at a livestream event where he answered questions from Citizens asked. He reaffirmed his intention to include general practitioners in the vaccinations.
Spahn pointed out that people from prioritization group one, which mainly includes people over 80, are vaccinated first. According to the health minister, all of them will probably be offered a vaccination by the end of March or beginning of April. An offer has already been made to the nursing home residents in the vast majority of federal states.
Move up to vaccination group two
The educators and the primary school staff – previously in priority group three – are now to move up to the second group. Because in ten federal states, face-to-face teaching is to take place again in many facilities and the daycare centers will take in more children again. But because distance is not possible there, they want to move the employees quickly into the next higher group two and make a vaccination offer possible earlier, said Spahn.
For this, the current vaccination ordinance would have to be changed. Representatives of several federal states have meanwhile spoken out in favor. Baden-Württemberg Health Minister Manne Lucha (Greens) announced that a corresponding change to the Federal Vaccination Ordinance was in progress. A fundamental decision should in all probability be made at the conference of health ministers. Family Minister Franziska Giffey also defended the planned school and daycare openings. “You can’t leave the children at home much longer because otherwise child protection and child welfare are at risk,” said the SPD politician. In addition, many parents are at the end. “ The load limit has been reached,” said Giffey.
Protection of teaching staff required
Education unions and teacher representatives demanded special consideration for health protection with a view to the openings. The President of the German Teachers’ Association, Heinz-Peter Meidinger, said it was correct to gradually start teaching again in schools, but only in regions with low infection rates. If federal states open up across the board, even in counties with high contagion rates, this is not responsible with a view to health protection, he told the dpa news agency. Teachers who are now returning to face-to-face classes in primary and final classes “should be given preferential vaccination,” said Meidinger in the “Augsburger Allgemeine”.
The education and science union (GEW) was skeptical: “ The countries that are now opening their schools are taking a high risk – for the health of teachers, pupils and their parents,” said chairwoman Marlis Tepe to the newspapers Funke media group.
Lower Saxony wants to vaccinate teachers
Lower Saxony wants to vaccinate teachers and educators earlier than planned with unused vaccines. According to the “Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung”, the country currently has too many vaccine doses in stock because many of those affected do not keep their appointment for vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine. “All opening scenarios rightly provide a high priority for the education sector,” said Lower Saxony Health Minister Carola Reimann (SPD) of the newspaper. It is “only logical to vaccinate teachers with a higher priority than before”.
The chairman of the German Association of Philologists, Susanne Lin-Klitzing, told the Funke Mediengruppe newspapers that if politicians wanted “full face-to-face teaching” again, they had to “offer all teachers a vaccination in advance”. In addition, clear timetables would have to be developed – for example, about how long the switching lessons should run.
No change in the Stiko vaccination recommendation
The Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko), however, reiterated its no to a change in its vaccination recommendation. When prioritizing the order, the focus is not on a possible infection with the corona virus, but on the risk of becoming seriously ill, said Stiko boss Thomas Mertens in the livestream event with the health minister. Whether someone becomes seriously ill depends first and foremost on age, and then on previous illnesses.
Mertens, however, expressly pointed out that the policy could deviate from the recommendation of Stiko. However, this must then be well justified. The argument that it is more difficult to keep your distance in daycare centers is plausible, but not supported by data.
However, the Federal Minister of Health assumes that two more vaccines will be available in the coming weeks and months. In the case of the preparation from Johnson & Johnson, it is expected in two to four weeks, in the case of the CureVac in April or May. If the preparation is approved by Johnson & Johnson, the Stiko wants to adjust its recommendation again, according to Mertens. Most recently, the Commission revised its recommendation after the AstraZeneca vaccine was approved. The Stiko advised only giving it to people between the ages of 18 and 64 because there was insufficient data on the effectiveness of the elderly.
Reimann wants to vaccinate teachers and educators earlier
Kay Wesche, NDR, 20.2.2021 · 19:52