Vaccination start: Who really has the highest priority is still open

opinion “Highest priority”

Who will really be vaccinated first? We are left alone with this question

| Reading time: 3 minutes

December 27, 2020, Baden-Württemberg, Sindelfingen: A man is vaccinated with a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in a nursing home by a member of a mobile vaccination team at the Stuttgart Clinic.  The corona vaccinations with the vaccine from Biontech / Pfizer in Germany began on Sunday.  Photo: Marijan Murat / dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++ December 27, 2020, Baden-Württemberg, Sindelfingen: A man is vaccinated with a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in a nursing home by a member of a mobile vaccination team at the Stuttgart Clinic.  The corona vaccinations with the vaccine from Biontech / Pfizer in Germany began on Sunday.  Photo: Marijan Murat / dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

The vaccination starts and millions have “top priority”. Olaf Gersemann asks himself who will really be vaccinated first

Source: Marijan Murat / dpa

The government has made it easy: instead of stipulating who will be vaccinated first, the Minister of Health has issued a vague list. Seven million people over 80 – among others – have the highest priority. In the end, coincidence or worse could decide within the group.

Es is vaccinated in Germany, finally. Of course, it now has to be a matter of supplying all those who want that with the corona vaccines as quickly as possible.

If the impression is not wrong, the Germans will be put to a test of patience: because there are not enough vaccine doses available for supply, because the logistics are not running smoothly, because there is a lack of staff. When will I finally get the needle stick in my arm will be the first question that many will ask when spring has long since come and there is no prospect of a vaccination appointment. And from there it is not far to the question: Why this or that – and not me and mine?

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Germany and the pandemic

These are not trivial questions, and certainly not illegitimate ones. One would have thought that the Bundestag was seizing them, not although, but precisely because human lives depend on the answers. In fact, the parliamentarians ducked away. Instead, the Federal Minister of Health took action by means of ordinances. The prioritization of the groups of people in this ordinance fits on one and a half A4 pages and is correspondingly crude.

Teachers, supermarket cashiers, cancer patients, obese people, people “in precarious living conditions” and everyone between the ages of 60 and 70 have “a higher priority right to vaccination”.

Seven million people are at the top

Two claim classes higher up, with people with “highest priority”, it hardly looks any different: Medical and nursing staff are mostly grouped here, plus residents and all over 80-year-olds. The latter alone are a group of almost seven million people.

Anyone who has ever underlined every word on a page of text knows the effect: If everything is emphasized, nothing sticks out at the end.

Jens Spahn and GroKo have made it easy for themselves with the regulation. In practice, however, it will not be easy. Who in the huge group with “highest priority” will get the vaccine, which is still scarce, first: The still sprightly 82-year-old? The terminally ill 92-year-old? Or whether the 102-year-old is her age? Is the assisted living home supplied first and the nursing home supplied last, or vice versa? Spahn’s regulation provides as little information about this as the relevant recommendations of the Standing Vaccination Commission at the Robert Koch Institute.

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As things stand, the questions will now have to be answered on site by the decision-makers left alone. Of course, it is no longer clear which principles are used to prioritize: Reason or arbitrariness? Coincidence or also vitamin B? Especially those who are throwing accusations of euthanasia and utilitarianism on social media and elsewhere these days should ask themselves whether this is really the ethical solution.

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