D.The state of North Rhine-Westphalia has imposed an immediate vaccination ban in hospitals that are supplied with Biontech vaccine. The reasons are delivery problems, according to an email from the Ministry of Health, which the German Press Agency has received.
Because of the delayed delivery, North Rhine-Westphalia is also postponing the start of vaccinations for people over 80 years old who live at home. The 53 vaccination centers in the country will only start operating on February 8th – a week later than previously planned, said a spokesman for the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of Health on Wednesday.
“The changed delivery quantities currently communicated by BioNTech make a change to the vaccination plan absolutely necessary,” says the letter from the ministry to the coordination offices of the vaccination centers in the districts and municipalities that was received there on Tuesday evening. The vaccines for hospitals ordered for Wednesday and Thursday could already “no longer be delivered”.
Second dose should be administered
In addition, “from now on, no orders for primary vaccinations can be placed in hospitals and nursing homes. All initial vaccination orders that have already been placed for January 22nd and the following days will be canceled by the state, ”said the Ministry of Health in the email. People who have already received a first vaccination would also receive their second vaccination dose as planned in the coming week, a spokesman said. Initial vaccinations are still possible today and tomorrow in old people’s and nursing homes, according to the ministry. From February 1st, regular vaccinations should be continued in hospitals and care facilities.
The university clinics in North Rhine-Westphalia, which were supplied with Moderna vaccine, were not yet affected by the vaccination ban on Wednesday. At the Düsseldorf university clinic, around 900 employees have been vaccinated without problems since the vaccination started on Monday, said a clinic spokesman. Vaccine replenishment is guaranteed, but there is still no specific delivery date for the second delivery.
Short-term modifications in the bottling plant
It is still unclear whether the second delivery will actually take place. According to the Ministry of Health, the doses for the second vaccination, which is due after four weeks, will be withheld, but: If the vaccine shortage persists or it worsens, the next tranche of the Moderna vaccine may also be used elsewhere than in the university hospitals it on Wednesday from the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of Health.
Due to short-term renovations in a bottling plant, the manufacturers Biontech and Pfizer will deliver significantly less vaccine than planned throughout Germany in the coming week, and a slightly larger vaccine delivery is planned for the federal states this week. This emerges from a delivery schedule from Biontech. From the beginning of February, however, the number of doses should be above plan, as the Federal Ministry of Health explained on Tuesday. The reason for this is that six instead of five vaccine doses can now be taken from one ampoule.
This week, the federal states will receive 842,400 doses based on the current requirement of six doses per ampoule. So far, 667,875 doses based on five possible doses had been named. In the week from January 25th, only 485,550 cans should come. In the week from February 1st, 684,450 cans follow and in the weeks from February 8th and February 15th each 742,950 cans. In the week from February 22nd it should be 906,750 cans. The renovations at Pfizer’s Belgian plant in Puurs are intended to create higher capacities.
On Tuesday, Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder and Berlin’s Mayor Michael Müller criticized the delays in deliveries with clear words. Müller urged more predictability and reliability in the delivery of corona vaccines.
“The decisive factor, especially in the first few weeks, is reliability,” said the SPD politician on Tuesday after the federal-state consultations in Berlin. The system of invitations to the vaccination centers is based on the delivery dates. Only with punctual delivery can it be ensured that the different age groups can be vaccinated there. “Of course, the Federal Minister of Health is also dependent on the deliveries from the companies,” said Müller, who is currently chairman of the Prime Minister’s Conference. “But we have already urgently asked that we be informed in good time about when we can expect which delivery.”
Countries deal with bottlenecks differently
The countries are dealing with the new delivery schedule differently as of Tuesday. In Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Berlin, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony and Thuringia, no appointments for necessary second vaccinations after the first dose have to be canceled, the respective authorities announced on Tuesday. In Berlin, however, the appointment allocation could be stretched. In Saxony-Anhalt, the districts and cities are responsible for vaccinations; the city of Halle, for example, has secured second vaccinations.
Lower Saxony plans to delay initial vaccinations. In Bavaria, some initial vaccination appointments were canceled, in Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland some were postponed. In Baden-Württemberg there should be fewer new vaccination appointments for the time being. In Bavaria, Brandenburg, Saxony, Saarland, Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg, no new vaccination dates are initially planned, according to the respective authorities. Brandenburg wants to decide on the future scope of vaccination during the week. In Hamburg, due to fluctuating delivery quantities, very cautious planning is required, the health authority said on Tuesday.