Where and how these risk groups in Germany can get free FFP2 masks
The German government has started the distribution of FFP2 masks to 27 million people in Germany who are over 60 years old or have certain pre-existing conditions.
Each of them is to receive 15 masks over the winter to protect against coronavirus infections.
This applies to health insurance patients as well as to private patients, according to a draft regulation of the federal Ministry of Health.
When will the masks be available?
The first three masks have been available in pharmacies since December 15th. To do so, people must prove their age on the basis of their identity card or passport or declare in a self-assessment that they suffer from a pre-existing condition.
From January, the remaining twelve masks will be available: six masks can be collected through February 28th and six more through April 15th.
In the new year, those eligible must also present a certificate from their health insurance company or private health insurance.
A pharmacy employee shows off a FFP2 mask, and how to put it on. Photo: DPA
How well does the mask protect?
While everyday masks (ie. those made of fabric) protect others, FFP2 masks also protect the wearer - but not 100 percent, so the wearers must also continue to observe distance and hygiene rules.
However, the masks filter 94 percent of airbourne particles.
The masks do not have to and should not be changed daily, but can be used several times. They must not be washed so as not to destroy the filter function.
For which pre-existing conditions are the masks available?
In addition to those over 60, people who qualify for the masks are those with Asthma, chronic heart or kidney failure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, active or metastatic cancer, cancer therapy that weakens the immune system, organ or stem cell transplantation, or women with a high-risk pregnancy.
What is this costing Germany?
The federal government is spending a total of €2.5 billion on the procurement and distribution of the masks. Pharmacies receive six euros per mask for procurement, storage and dispensing.