Berlin is lifting prioritization for all coronavirus vaccines among general practitioners and company doctors starting Monday. A spokesman for Health Senator Dilek Kalayci confirmed this to Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) on Thursday. Previously, the magazine "Business Insider" had reported that Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg had announced similar steps.
On Monday, SPD politician Kalayci had announced in the health committee of the House of Representatives to lift the order for all vaccines. Already since end of May this applied in the practices for the preparation of the Swedish-British manufacturer Astrazeneca. Now, age, previous illnesses or certain professions will no longer play a role for vaccinations with the U.S. preparation from Moderna and the German Biontech vaccine. At least in doctors' offices - and that's where people are worried.
This Thursday, the Daily Mirror received numerous calls from practicing physicians who criticize the Senate's approach. So far available vaccine quantities were not sufficient, in order to supply starting from Monday all those, which had inquired. Now tens of thousands more would like to make an appointment for vaccination, for which there is currently not enough supply of any preparation.
Although practices are closed on this holiday, patients are already trying to reach their doctors: The "call and e-mail volume," as one family doctor from Mitte reported, was enormous. The DPA also quotes Kalayci's spokesman as saying that not every Berliner will be able to be vaccinated next week - the available funds are scarce, and larger quantities are not expected until June.
The Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KV), which is responsible for the practices, will comment later today. The KV must include all physicians in private practice who provide care for people with statutory health insurance - it represents approximately 9,000 practices in Berlin.
While the practices obtain the vaccine via the pharmacy trade, the six Corona vaccination centers (CIZ) in the capital are supplied via federal deliveries.In centers, the order remains for the time being, doctors from the CIZs informed. As of Monday, between 28,000 and 40,000 doses of Moderna are expected there each week. In addition, between 70,000 and 76,000 vaccine doses are expected to come from Biontech - until the beginning of July. That's according to internal delivery schedules. Astrazeneca is not specified there.Brandenburg is also expected to lift the prioritization - but the state government did not give a date.
A total of 2165 doctors' practices in Berlin vaccinate against the coronavirus (as of May 11). Since April 17, physicians in private practice have vaccinated nearly 277,000 doses from Biontech/Pfizer and a good 90,000 from Astrazeneca.Since May 3, Berliners who belong to priority group 3 can be immunized either at the city's six vaccination centers or at an outpatient doctor's office. These are, for example, people over 60, younger people with chronic illnesses, election workers and members of certain occupational groups.
By the end of May, practices should offer fewer initial vaccinations with Biontech. The KV called on physicians to do so on May 6. Due to the overall limited supply of the vaccine, practices would have to reckon with receiving only one vial of Biontech each in the last two weeks of May, which is enough for six initial vaccinations.And physicians also need to be frugal for timed vaccinations during this time. They should only schedule them for those who have been vaccinated with Biontech for the first time, as the specified vaccination interval of six weeks would otherwise be exceeded, according to the KV. Starting in June, however, significantly more vaccine from the manufacturer will be available.
SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach had already criticized on Wednesday federal states in which the vaccination prioritization in doctors' offices is to be lifted as of Monday. "I cannot understand the advance of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. Vaccination prioritization in doctors' offices should be retained, as NRW has now said," Lauterbach told the Tagesspiegel. "It is, after all, already lifted for the vaccines of Astrazeneca and Johnson & Johnson, that is enough. With prioritization, we can best protect the vulnerable groups."
Photo by Steven Cornfield