The fourth wave of coronavirus in Germany is gaining momentum, with the number of new infections rising steadily. Acting Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) has therefore called on the individual states to reopen vaccination centers so that as many people as possible can receive a booster dose of the coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible. Spahn wants to offer booster vaccinations to all citizens, a move that has drawn sharp criticism in the medical community. What do the individual states think about this? And how soon can vaccination centers be “up and running” again?
Are the individual federal states prepared to accelerate the third-dose vaccination campaign?
The authorities in Hamburg ensure that the infrastructure is already in place to carry out booster vaccinations in parallel. COVID-19 vaccination is carried out by doctors in private practice as well as at vaccination centers organized by the city.
Two coronavirus vaccination centers, CIZ Messe Berlin and CIZ Tegel, are open in Berlin. Currently, more than 40 percent of vaccinations in the German capital are performed at the two aforementioned centers and through mobile vaccination teams. However, Senator Dilek Kalayci is pushing for an increase in the number of vaccinations carried out by doctors’ offices. “People who need care at home, who are immobile, need to be vaccinated by family doctors as well,” Kalayci said.
Bavaria also believes that booster vaccinations should primarily be carried out by general practitioners. For this, there are 81 vaccination centers with around 230 mobile vaccination teams. Booster vaccinations can also be carried out in hospitals. At present, the 81 vaccination centres are working on a limited basis, with the mobile vaccination teams concentrating on old people’s homes and nursing homes. Bavaria adds that, if necessary, vaccination centres can increase their capacity immediately, depending on local circumstances, and take a flexible approach to implementing the vaccination programme. The Health Ministry is in constant contact with the Bavarian association of health insurance practitioners, aid organizations and municipal associations.
Some vaccination centers in Germany are still in operation, others have temporarily suspended their activities
Vaccination centers played a major role during the peak of the vaccination campaign in spring and summer: at that time, there were more than 400 such facilities throughout Germany – in the meantime, most of them have been closed again.
The federal government has no information on how many vaccination centers are still operating in Germany. “I don’t have any figures on this because the running of vaccination centers is the responsibility of the federal states,” – A health ministry spokesman said in Berlin on Monday. He added that in some states the points are still operating, while in others they remain on standby.
Spahn also called for a summit on booster vaccination to be held with representatives of the federal government and the individual states. At the moment, it is unclear if and when such a meeting will take place. A spokesman for the Ministry of Health stressed that the reopening of vaccination centers and the issuing of invitations to vaccinate over 60 years of age should be discussed at the summit.