Berlin (dpa) – After the hesitant start, hopes are growing in the federal states of a rapid dismantling of the vaccination backlog of Astrazeneca.
Several countries expect a significant increase in vaccinations with the British-Swedish vaccine, according to a question from the German news agency. Until recently, only a small fraction of the cans had ended up in people’s upper arms. The reasons for this are partly surprising.
The vaccination backlog of Astrazeneca in figures
According to information from the Federal Department of Health, a total of nearly 3.2 million doses of the Astrazeneca vaccine should have been delivered to federal states by Thursday. However, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), only 514,000 doses had been administered by Monday. Compared to the vaccine quantities, the vaccination coverage is still manageable: on Monday about 59,000 people were vaccinated with Astrazeneca, over the two weekend days there were about 91,000. One thing is clear: if the pace continues, there could be more than two million cans in stock by the end of the week.
Why should more vaccinations be available now?
In several states, vaccination arrangements are already being made for the second priority group, others are planning this – and so millions of people could soon be entitled to an Astrazeneca vaccination. In North Rhine-Westphalia, for example, around 750,000 kindergarten teachers, day care centers, primary school teachers and patrol officers will receive a vaccination offer from Monday. “We just want to vaccinate as much as possible,” said NRW Health Minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU). In Hesse, 12,000 doctors and medical staff have recently received their dose of Astrazeneca and it will soon be the turn of teachers, educators and police officers.
And the reservations seem to be disappearing: Brandenburg reported an occupancy rate of around 90 percent in appointments at the beginning of the week, in Thuringia vaccination appointments for nursery and primary and special school staff were assigned within a few hours. Baden-Württemberg also sees a stronger demand for appointments, there are few reservations from teachers or educators. Meanwhile, more than a million people in the country are also entitled to vaccinations, says from there. Previously, the federal states had increased the capacity in the vaccination centers.
The city of Krefeld in North Rhine-Westphalia shows how quickly it can be done. There, 600 school and day-care workers were vaccinated with Astrazeneca doses received on short-term and unplanned delivery on Tuesday – six days before the nationwide vaccination for this group starts.
The reasons for the initially slow start
However, there are still piles of vaccine in the refrigerator. It was recently said that the Astrazeneca vaccine had an image problem and was therefore administered so hesitantly. The experiences from the countries show: that is only part of the truth.
In Schleswig-Holstein, for example, the booking software first had to be converted in order to be able to use Astrazeneca on a large scale in the vaccination centers. In North Rhine-Westphalia, vaccination coverage in hospitals has recently been deliberately lowered because some workers were absent for a short time after the vaccination. The vaccination agreements were therefore stretched over a longer period – so that not too many employees are absent from the vaccine at the same time. And Baden-Württemberg justified the low vaccination coverage with a statistical delay: vaccinations in the hospitals are therefore not statistically registered in the vaccination centers until late.
Federal government spokesman Steffen Seibert recently declined to give the impression that the vaccine was simply lying around unused. Vaccine could initially be delivered relatively fresh, withheld for a second vaccination or not yet vaccinated, but intended for certain vaccinations.
Further criticism of the vaccination concept
According to the social association VdK, the federal states must nevertheless speed up. “The vaccine is there, but some of it is lost in the vaccination centers,” said president Verena Bentele. More and more members reported to the association who were chronically ill or disabled and wanted to be vaccinated, but were desperately waiting for appointments. The VdK complained that the federal government was leaving the procedure to the states and district officials. They are clearly hopelessly overwhelmed to find people with chronic illnesses and disabilities.
Click on the relevant state in our vaccination overview to access the respective vaccination data. (fp)