Vaccination dates are postponed, vaccination centers open later: BioNTech’s delivery bottleneck has consequences in several federal states. But the effects are not the same everywhere – an overview.
North Rhine-Westphalia: vaccination ban imposed
In North Rhine-Westphalia, the vaccinations against Corona have to pause in many cases for the time being. The reason are delays in delivery by the manufacturer BioNTech. According to Health Minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU), NRW will receive 100,000 fewer vaccine doses in the coming days than BioNTech originally promised.
The Ministry of Health therefore imposed a stop on the vaccination campaign that had started the day before at the hospitals on Tuesday evening. For the time being, no further initial vaccinations with the BioNTech vaccine can take place in old people’s homes either.
The second vaccination, however, is out of the question, according to the NRW Ministry of Health. Enough doses would always be withheld. NRW Minister of Health Laumann is therefore defending his strategy of proceeding slowly with initial vaccinations. “It is now paying off because we have absolutely no problem with the second vaccination. It is very important that we can do it when the first vaccination is 21 days ago,” said Laumann. However, there are reports from several institutions where appointments for the second vaccination were canceled again.
The start of the vaccination centers in NRW has also been postponed. Relatively late, from February 1st, the over-80s who do not live in care facilities should be vaccinated. That shouldn’t start until a week later – from February 8th.
The opposition SPD in the state parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia cannot identify any vaccination strategy of the state. Again and again there are suddenly excess vaccine doses that the municipalities hand out. “Some of them call the fire brigade or clinics by chance and say, come over,” complains Josef Neumann, health policy spokesman for the SPD. But there must be clear guidelines from the country.
By Jens Eberl, WDR
Thuringia: Things are looking up
In a nationwide comparison, Thuringia is still lagging behind when it comes to corona vaccinations. Nevertheless, the vaccination strategy is gradually taking effect. Around 32,000 people in the Free State have now been vaccinated. A few hundred of them have already received the second vaccination.
For comparison: On January 4th, Thuringia was at the bottom of the RKI ranking with just 810 vaccinations. A “reporting problem”, declared Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (left). And not the only thing: A hacker attack paralyzed the Thuringian online vaccination portal, followed by a power failure when the vaccination hotline was opened, which also caused numerous mix-ups: Because the number of the hotline only differed in one digit , many callers mistakenly ended up at a car dealership in Weimar.
Despite these mishaps, the development has been positive since then. So the vaccination strategy works with the distribution. Thuringia initially prioritized hospitals and nursing homes. According to the current status, about two thirds of all vaccinated Thuringian employees are in medical facilities or nursing staff.
A little later than other federal states, Thuringia opened the first vaccination centers on January 13th. So far, 13 of a total of 33 planned vaccination centers are in operation. From February 3rd, further centers are to follow step by step. According to the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians responsible for logistics in Thuringia, 1000 people can currently be vaccinated here every day. This number is expected to increase significantly as soon as there is more vaccine.
But this is exactly what will be missing in the next few weeks after the manufacturer BionNTech / Pfizer announced short-term delivery bottlenecks. Thuringia’s Minister of Health Heike Werner (Linke) described this approach as unbelievable. In the next four weeks, the Free State will lose around 30,000 of its 93,600 planned vaccination doses. Nevertheless, according to the Ministry of Health, all vaccination appointments planned so far should take place.
By Andreas Kehrer, MDR Thuringia
Rhineland-Palatinate: “A clear damper”
The vaccine is also drying up in the federal state in which the first vaccine approved in Europe was developed: BioNTech is headquartered in Mainz, the capital of Rhineland-Palatinate.
The state’s vaccination coordinator was disappointed after the federal government cut vaccine deliveries for Rhineland-Palatinate by 30,000 doses: “This is a clear damper for our successful and fast vaccination campaign and presents us with great logistical challenges,” says Alexander Wilhelm. Appointments that have already been agreed in the vaccination centers for first vaccinations in the coming week must be postponed. Rhineland-Palatinate will inform those affected of a new date.
Second vaccinations should continue to be given on time: “We have taken precautions that enough vaccine is available for them,” says Wilhelm. “The people who have already received their first vaccination will get their second vaccination on the date already communicated. Nothing will change here.” It is also ensured that groups that are particularly worthy of protection, such as the elderly in retirement and care facilities, continue to be vaccinated by the mobile vaccination teams. This also applies to the staff of the facilities.
By Juri Sonnenholzner, SWR
Saxony: The problem child is catching up
Saxony has been the number one corona worry country for many weeks, and the vaccination campaign also leaves a lot to be desired. Especially in the first few days after the start of vaccination on December 27th, there were huge problems between Leipzig and Görlitz. In a nationwide comparison, the Free State has now caught up and even overtook states such as Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia or Hesse in terms of vaccination rates – but the next problems have long since been there. Due to the lack of a vaccine, no new vaccination appointments have been made since the beginning of this week; Minister of Social Affairs Petra Köpping recently announced that there will be no more immunizations from the end of the week.
The vaccine that is still available will be used for vaccination appointments that have already been made and for the second vaccination dose. Only when new cans are delivered by BioNTech / Pfizer or Moderna will the portal for making appointments in Saxony be activated again. “Unfortunately, we can only assign as many appointments as we have vaccine,” explains Kai Kranich from the German Red Cross (DRK) Saxony – and describes a nationwide problem.
So far, around 9,000 vaccination appointments have been made via the booking portal, the rest of the just over 60,000 vaccinations took place in nursing homes and medical facilities. Speaking of the booking portal for making vaccination appointments: This collapsed at the start of the vaccination centers on January 11th, the high demand had overloaded the servers. The possibility of making appointments by phone also went into operation later than planned, also here technical difficulties. The technology is now working – but due to the lack of a vaccine, the hotline only answers questions about vaccination. Appointments will follow later.
According to its own information, the Ministry of Social Affairs in Dresden expects deliveries of around 164,000 BioNTech vaccine doses to Saxony by mid-February. There are also around 50,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine. As soon as enough vaccine is available, Saxony wants to vaccinate several thousand people a day – further vaccination centers are to be set up in addition to the existing vaccination centers.
By Ayke Süthoff, MDR
Hessen: Fewer appointments
Since the start of vaccination in Hesse on December 27th, around 82,000 people have received the first dose from mobile vaccination teams and in hospitals. 12,000 people from this group have received the second vaccination so far.
Six regional vaccination centers (Kassel, Gießen, Fulda, Frankfurt am Main, Wiesbaden and Darmstadt) started vaccinating on January 19th. The approximately 400,000 people in Hesse who are 80 years of age and older are vaccinated first. Due to the shortage of vaccines, the vaccination centers have only been able to allocate 60,000 appointments for a first and second vaccination.
By February 8, the federal government promised the state of Hesse around 49,000 vaccine doses a week. Half of these doses are stored to ensure the second vaccination. 20,000 doses go to the vaccination centers every week. The remaining doses supply retirement and nursing homes, as well as particularly stressed hospitals. From February 9, another 22 vaccination centers are to open across Hesse.
By Gerrit Rudolph, HR