Et is a simple arithmetic game: because last year many Frankfurters with walking disabilities did not use trips that are normally paid for by the city, the money saved is now to be “processed”. Seniors who are registered in Frankfurt and have a vaccination appointment can be brought to the festival hall by taxi. The social department pays the costs. Daniela Birkenfeld (CDU), social affairs officer, announced this at the opening of the Frankfurt vaccination center.
A voucher issued by the city should be valid for both the outward and return journeys on both vaccination dates. An accompanying person can also come along. “Traveling by bus and train is a risk for seniors under the current conditions,” said Birkenfeld on Monday. Seniors can register from this Tuesday on under the telephone number 069/21245065 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. “We also want to support the Frankfurt taxi industry with this,” said Birkenfeld.
Offenbach city hall chief promises help
The advance from Frankfurt is putting other cities under pressure. Mayor Felix Schwenke (SPD) contradicted the representation in the social media on Monday that Offenbach did not want to offer a driving service for vaccination. Schwenke said in a specially convened press conference that a driver service was planned from the outset for those who had no other option. But you cannot immediately give a blanket commitment without first clarifying who will bear the costs. All Offenbachers who needed help will also be helped, said Schwenke.
Interior Minister Beuth also agreed to help: Seniors who are entitled to bill for an ambulance trip can also take a taxi to the vaccination appointment. “If, for whatever reason, the health insurance company does not pay for it, the State of Hesse will cover the costs,” said Beuth.
A test run
The first six of a total of 28 vaccination centers in Hesse will open on Tuesday in Wiesbaden, Gießen, Kassel, Darmstadt, Fulda and Frankfurt. In Frankfurt around 500 people are expected on the first day, in Darmstadt around 250. The numbers are expected to increase over the weekend. The somewhat quieter vaccination start also serves as a test run. “There will certainly still be points where we have to readjust,” said Frankfurt’s health department, Stefan Majer (The Greens).
Even before the vaccination center opened, the city had responded to the concerns of many senior citizens who feared having to travel too far around the festival hall. A second entrance is supposed to ease the situation. All mobile vaccinators who travel by public transport or taxi, for example, should use the barrier-free City entrance at the Friedrich-Ebert-Anlage. The entrance via the stairway on Brusselser Strasse is also open. Those entitled to vaccinate who have a walking disability and are therefore dependent on particularly short walking distances can access the site via the East Gate on Brussels Street or the North Gate on Theodor-Heuss-Alle – however, entry is only permitted with vaccination authorization.
In parallel with the start of vaccination in the centers, the state government is working on improving the technology for the registration process. In a special meeting of the Social Committee, the responsible State Secretary Anne Janz (The Greens) reported that they had now responded to complaints about the call center. It was criticized that some callers had to spell their names up to five times because the staff had difficulties understanding them. Janz reported that the German service provider had a small part of the phone calls handled by subcontractors in Turkish call centers. There is now quality assurance there. The staff who have proven to be “not fit enough” are no longer active.
The SPD in the state parliament criticized that it was made difficult for people over the age of eighty to get vaccinated. The online portal for assigning vaccination appointments is only manageable for internet-savvy people. For people in rural areas it is also an unreasonable expectation if only the six vaccination centers in the big cities are initially open. All 28 vaccination centers have long been operational, so that vaccinations can start everywhere. The fact that not enough vaccine is currently available to use the full capacity of all centers is not an argument against putting them into operation.