Berlin (dpa) – Corona vaccinations in medical practices and more tests at companies should soon prevent the number of infections from rising again in the coming weeks.
On Tuesday, the company executives appealed to companies to offer quick tests for employees, but they remain voluntary for companies. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) urged broad participation. Virologists warn that progress in testing and vaccination may be too slow. So there is a threat of a large third corona wave. The start of general vaccinations in general practice is planned for the beginning of April.
Federal and state health ministers want to clarify the exact date next Wednesday, the German news agency has learned from government circles. According to the Federal Department of Health, 10.4 million vaccine doses from the manufacturers Biontech / Pfizer, Astrazeneca and Moderna were delivered to the federal states on Monday. So far, 2.55 million people have been fully protected, ie with two doses of vaccine. That is 3.1 percent of the population. 5.35 million people have received at least one dose of vaccine.
The corona rapid tests, which have been intensified since Monday, are intended to prevent new chains and sources of infection. This is complicated by the fact that the British virus mutant has been gaining ground for weeks. At the same time, more closed areas were opened in most regions of Germany this week. As expected, rapid tests by trained personnel, for example in pharmacies and test centers, were initially not widely available; tests for personal use at the start of the weekend sales quickly sold out.
The risk to the health of the population is still “very high,” said the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). Within seven days, 67.5 people per 100,000 inhabitants were newly infected. This incidence is mild in Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt, and considerably higher in Thuringia. 66 of the 412 districts are more than 100. The number of deaths from or with Covid-19 rose to 71,934 nationwide.
THE RAPID TEST OFFENSIVE: In parallel with the rapid tests for all citizens, the federal government wants to make the economy more responsible. Initially, conversations about this stalled. The central associations have now appealed to companies to offer their employees self-tests and, where possible, rapid tests. “During this time, we want to realize our overall social responsibility through a temporary substantial expansion of testing,” stated Industry (BDA), Employers’ Associations (BDA), Professionals (ZDH) and the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DIHK). ).
For now, they have not made more precise commitments. Merkel and the Prime Ministers had specifically demanded that the companies “offer their attending employees at least one free quick test per week as a contribution to society as a whole.” Merkel welcomed the call, but at the same time demanded: “We expect commercial companies to really participate.” The test strategy is “a must for the possibility of openings”. In order to be binding, an initial overview of participation should be available at the beginning of April. DGB boss Reiner Hoffmann also warned that appeals should not stay.
Green health expert Janosch Dahmen spoke of a good signal. “To become an effective tool against the pandemic, workers need to be tested two to three times a week,” he told the DPA. The economy must be part of a show of power against the third wave. This also included vaccinations by company doctors, extensive FFP2 masks in the workplace, and short quick tests on the way to work. Rapid workplace testing should become the norm where home office is not an option. But they are not a free ticket to return to the office. “If we give up the home office now, mobility will increase by leaps and bounds and the third wave could get out of hand.”
For at least one free quick test per week for all citizens, the federal government has been paying the costs since Monday, according to a regulation announced Tuesday. Deputy head of the National Association of Statutory Physicians and Health Insurers (KBV), Stephan Hofmeister, criticized the approach of Minister Jens Spahn (CDU). Rapid tests are now being used more and more, “but unfortunately in an absolutely short term, even formally retroactively, which led to chaos from the start,” he told the editorial network Germany (Tuesday).
VACCINATIONS IN PRACTICE: From April onwards, so many people would have to be vaccinated that the regional vaccination centers of the countries would no longer manage vaccinations alone. The up to 75,000 practices will then take over the majority of the vaccinations. With a switch by the line ministers on Wednesday, the course is determined more precisely. It should also address how the expected doses are distributed among vaccination centers and practices.
As reported the previous day, the vaccine has to come into practice through wholesalers and pharmacies, just like other vaccines. The bureaucratic effort for medical practices must be kept to a minimum. The vaccination centers will continue to exist for the time being. Agreed agreements there must be maintained. According to KBV, the entire population can receive vaccination protection through vaccination in practices in August if vaccine deliveries arrive as hoped.