W.hen the prioritization of corona vaccinations ends this Monday, the expectations of many unvaccinated people will rise again. After all, on paper there are no longer any obstacles on the way to the longed-for syringe. According to the letters of the law – or in this case: the applicable Corona Vaccination Ordinance – all citizens are the same again.
If you want, you can get vaccinated, the return to the new normal is at least in sight. So much for the theory. The reality is different. Because even if from now on all citizens can register for a corona vaccination, it will still take a while until all those willing to vaccinate have gone through the scheme, which usually consists of two syringes a few weeks apart.
The Federal Ministry of Health is expecting significantly more vaccine in the coming weeks and months. The pharmaceutical industry is said to have delivered at least 79 million units by the end of June, calculated since the beginning of the pandemic. Another 211 million cans could be added by the end of the year. But because the sensitive vaccines should continue to be inoculated in a controlled manner, according to the latest model calculations it will take until the end of August or mid-September until 80 percent of Germans are protected against the virus from the age of twelve.
Although the vaccination centers continue to work, family doctors and specialists are vaccinating more and more and the company doctors are now also being included in the campaign, there is no question that from this Monday on, not everyone who wants to be vaccinated will get an appointment immediately. Many will only be able to be asked to free the upper arm for the first time in July.
The great freedom that June 7th 2021 promises is therefore initially of symbolic importance. Just as the vaccine needs time to develop its effect in the human body, the end of prioritization is only slowly turning into more security and more freedom.
The medical professionals must continue to prioritize
During this transition phase, doctors and administrations will still have to decide who they prefer to offer an appointment to in view of scarce resources. Because the reasons that some people should be vaccinated earlier than others, the lifting of the prioritization does not change anything. As before, those patients who, for medical or social reasons, are at increased risk of infection or severe disease should be called in for vaccination first. Thats alright. Anything else would be negligent.
But there are already complaints about a sometimes quite pronounced attitude towards the corona vaccination. In many places, the practice telephones did not stand still when the prioritization was still in effect. In the coming weeks, it will be up to the medical staff to explain to people why desire and reality are still two different things, even in the pandemic.
The debate over the past few weeks as to which section of the population paid the greatest price in the pandemic and which is now finally a turn has turned out to be of little help. When the federal and state governments contested the question of whether children and adolescents should be given preference vaccinations – the states rightly rejected a proposal from Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) – there was no shortage of indications that children suffered the most during the pandemic would have.
It is true that virtually every section of the population suffered heavily from the crisis. The attempt to play different forms of suffering off against one another was and is vile. If the pace of vaccination does not increase as quickly as the end of the prioritization suggests, this poisoned debate is likely to receive new food.
Is politics prepared for the refresher?
In addition, science is still not clear about how long the vaccination protection lasts at all. The pessimistic mark of six months, which is repeatedly brought into play, would soon be reached by those who were the first to be vaccinated in December and January – those in need of care, carers and medical staff with a high risk of infection.
It is time for the federal and state governments to discuss how the further protection of these particularly vulnerable groups can be ensured – also and especially as long as there is still uncertainty on the technical side. Under no circumstances should the politicians be surprised again that the expected happens. Should it emerge that refresher courses will be needed soon, a new debate would arise in the country. Then the federal and state governments would have little choice but to prefer the refreshments to protect against death and serious illness – and to ask the young and healthy for patience. Once again.