Berlin (dpa) – Given the declining demand for corona vaccinations, the federal states are increasingly using flexible solutions to reach more people. This is according to a study by the German news agency.
Interest in vaccination is declining in many places and vaccination centers are closing in some places. In addition, there are more and more mobile vaccination teams and people can get an injection without an appointment in many places. Despite declining numbers, only a few vaccine doses have expired so far.
According to information from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the number of vaccine doses administered daily in Germany is falling. For example, only 572,482 doses were injected on Tuesday, compared to the peak of 1.5 million on June 9. Vaccination centers in particular showed a decline, according to the Central Institute for Health Insurance. But medical practices are also far from the record. At the same time, the incidence is increasing again. So far, just over 60 percent of the population has had at least one first vaccination, according to the RKI.
In the Hessian vaccination centers, about 20 percent did not show up for their appointments, the Interior Ministry announced. According to the health administration, about 20 percent of appointments were not used in Berlin as well. According to the Ministry of Health, the national vaccination centers in Thuringia are only half full. In Baden-Württemberg, the number of first vaccinations in the vaccination centers has recently fallen by 70 percent, according to the Ministry of Health.
Due to the low occupancy rate, more and more vaccination centers are closing. Bavaria closed the first centers last week, capacity in the other centers was also partially reduced – and preparations are being made for the closure of further permanent locations. In Berlin, the Tempelhof vaccination center closed on Wednesday, with three more to follow at the end of August. In Thuringia, of four supraregional vaccination centers, only the one in Erfurt will be continued after the summer. Baden-Württemberg’s regional centers are expected to close in mid-August. Other states such as Hesse, Schleswig-Holstein and Saxony want to keep their centers open until the end of September.
The intensive care doctor Uwe Janssens expressed his concern about the development. “We know from various calculations that if we don’t vaccinate 85 percent of 59 to 70 year olds, we will have similar conditions in the intensive care units in the fall as at the beginning of the year, up to 6,000 intensive care patients.” Janssens told the RTL/ntv channels on Wednesday. He did speak out against compulsory vaccination for nursing staff.
To reach more people, many countries rely on flexible vaccination offers. “If the people don’t come to the vaccinations, then the vaccinations have to come to the people,” emphasized Thuringian Health Minister Heike Werner (left). “Whether it’s a vaccination in the football stadium, mobile vaccination teams on market and supermarket squares or vaccinations without an appointment in the centers – all initiatives are welcome,” says the department head of Baden-Württemberg, Manne Lucha (Greens). The health minister of Saxony-Anhalt, Petra Grimm-Benne (SPD), also announced on Monday that she would “start the vaccination turbo” again until the end of the vaccination centers in September.
In many countries, mobile vaccination teams are on the road or are vaccinated late into the night. Bremen vaccinates foreign seafarers directly on their ships. In Thuringia you can get a bratwurst with a syringe in Sonneberg. In Berlin there are drive-in or walk-in vaccinations at an Ikea branch. In vaccination centers you can get an injection in many places without an appointment.
However, the chairman of the board of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Doctors, Andreas Gassen, tempered expectations for such methods. “Mobile vaccination offers can help reach people, but they probably won’t go the distance,” Gassen says. “There is a relevant number of people who simply do not want to be vaccinated.”
According to the states, only a small amount of the vaccine had to be thrown away. In Saxony, for example, about 8,700 cans have been thrown away, partly because of damaged or incorrectly filled ampoules, according to a spokeswoman for the German Red Cross (DRK). The Bavarian Ministry of Health reported the expiration date of 1751 cans.
Some countries have few problems with vaccinations. In Bremen, vaccination center appointments are usually fully booked and canceled appointments are quickly reassigned, a health department spokeswoman said. Lower Saxony does not intend to reduce capacity before the end of September. According to the government and the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, vaccination fatigue is currently not a major problem in Schleswig-Holstein.