EXPLAINED: When will I be in line for a Covid-19 vaccination in Germany?

The German government has established a list of when people will able to have their vaccinations. Here's an idea of when you can get your jab.

EXPLAINED: When will I be in line for a Covid-19 vaccination in Germany?
An elderly lady in vaccinated in Hamburg. Photo: Christian Charisius/DPA

The first thing to say about when you can expect to be inoculated against Covid-19 is that that the vaccine programme is being coordinated by the federal states. 

German states have different processes and varying bureaucracy so it also depends where you live. Currently the best performing states when it comes to vaccinations are Bremen and Saarland.

The population has been grouped into four categories according to their likelihood of developing severe symptoms and their contact with risk groups or infectious people.

As a reminder: pregnant women and children under the age of 16 are not included in any of the following timetables as no vaccine has been approved for them.

But here is the rough timetable for when you should be in line for a vaccination.

Highest priority (priority group 1)

Facts: 6 million people (seven percent of the population)

Vaccination period: December 2020 – March/April 2021

The people with the highest priority on the vaccine list are everyone over the age of 80 and people who live in care homes. Additionally, carers who work with the elderly, and medical staff who work with highly vulnerable patients (eg those undergoing an organ transplant) and medics and nurses who work on Covid-19 wards, are the professionals in the first priority group.

Vaccinations in the highest priority group started in late December and the first round of vaccinations in this group is now nearly completed. Some 5.4 million people have now received their first dose of one of the three approved vaccines. At 2.5 million, less than half of this highest priority group have had the required second dose.

High priority (priority group 2)

Facts: 16 million people (20 percent of the population)

Potential timeline (March 2021 – June 2021)

Priority group two includes a long list of different people based on age, illnesses and profession. For starters, it includes all members of the public between the ages of 70 and 79. 

Then there is a long list of illnesses that qualify people to be vaccinated in this group. People who are likely to develop serious symptoms based on a pre-exiting illness, including those who have had an organ transplant, people with dementia, severe phycological illness, acute diabetes, and cancer patients.

Two close contacts of people in care and of pregnant women can also be vaccinated here.

A long list of jobs also qualifies people to obtain a vaccination on this group.

Police who work at demonstrations, teachers at primary schools, kindergarten staff, carers for the severally disabled, and people whose jobs are relevant for the work of hospitals are eligible.

READ ALSO: ‘I finally might be able to go home’: What it’s like to be offered the Covid vaccine in Germany

Where you live is also relevant. Residents of refugee centres and people who work at refugee centres are included, as are people who stay in homeless shelters and those who work in the shelters.

Most states have already offered appointments in this group.

Bavaria was one of the first to move onto group 2: the southern state opened the registration process for appointments in early March.

Schleswig-Holstein announced in March that people in group 2 could start applying for vaccine appointments starting on Tuesday afternoon. The northern state appealed for patience though. While some 800,000 people there are in group 2 there are were initially only 200,000 appointments available.

READ ALSO: ‘First success’: Is Germany’s accelerated vaccine rollout impacting the third wave?

Lower Saxony also announced in March that it was starting vaccinations on the second priority group.

Analysis done by the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) predicts that the fastest states will complete vaccinations in this group by May.

Increased priority (group 3)

Facts: 12 million people (15 percent of the population)

Potential timeline (May 2021 – August 2021)

This third group includes all members of the public aged between 60 and 69.

READ ALSO: How do I prove I belong to one of Germany’s priority groups?

In terms of illnesses, people with pre-existing conditions that make a severe case of Covid-19 likely are also included. This includes people with a body mass index over 30, people with less acute diabetes, people with heart conditions, and asthma patients.

People in care due to any of the above mentioned conditions can also nominate two close contacts who can be immunised in this category too.

There is also a long list of occupations included. All teachers who don’t belong to group 2 are listed in group 3. The same goes for people in medical professions. People who work in state administration, in government, for the police, in fire and justice departments are also included.

The government’s plan is that people in this category start receiving their vaccinations in May. However, some states may vaccinate this group earlier if they have leftover AstraZeneca doses, like North Rhine-Westphalia did over the Easter weekend.

But the SZ’s analysis predicts that, at the current rate, the last people to be vaccinated in group 3 will have to wait until later in slower states like Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia.

Everyone else (group 4)

Facts: 17 million people (20 percent of the population)

Potential timeline (July 2021 – December 2021)

The rest of the population are then in line for their vaccinations. A condition for getting a vaccination is that you have health insurance in Germany, have a registered address here, or you “are normally resident” in the country.


According to the government’s timeline, people in this group should be in line for vaccinations starting in July. The plan is to have everyone who wants a vaccination immunised by September 21st.

Nonetheless, if the rollout continues at a slower pace, some people in this category would have to wait far longer before receiving a a jab, according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

So are we really going to have to wait this long?

Around a fifth of Germany’s 83 million inhabitants have received at least one dose of their vaccine since Germany started its vaccination programme at the end of 2020 – and the trend is rising.

And many experts expect the rate of vaccination to increase further in the coming months. However, there are concerns over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine being paused in the US over possible links to rare blood clots, which has an impact on the EU.

Additionally, GPs have been given permission to administer vaccinations in April. With some 50,000 doctors practices prepared to join the vaccine programme, this gives the rollout a significant boost. According to the National Doctors’ Association (KBV), these doctors would be able to vaccinate 5 million people each week.

The national vaccine agency, Stiko, has also stated that supply shortages with the approved vaccines will cease to be a problem in April.

This means that the rate of vaccinations should speed up considerably in the coming months – but we have to look out for supply changes or health investigations that may impact the way vaccines are given out in Germany.

Member comments

  1. Those of your readers who live in Bavaria, especially if they fall into the “high priority” category, may find this video useful. It explains how to register for a Covid-19 vaccination in Bavaria, in English:
    It’s not entirely clear what will happen from April, when vaccinations will be administered in doctors’ surgeries as well as the centralised vaccination centres, so at that point the central registration portal may become less relevant.

  2. That is ridiculous. Everyone I know back home in California who wanted a vaccine is already vaccinated, right down to 16 years of age. The EU blew it…completely. They’ll have herd immunity by December through infections, because frankly, people aren’t going to accept being locked down another year.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

German health ministers say that tougher Covid restrictions should come back into force if a serious wave emerges in autumn.

Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

Following a video meeting on Monday, the health ministers of Germany’s 16 states said tougher restrictions should be imposed again if they are needed. 

“The corona pandemic is not over yet – we must not be deceived by the current declining incidences,” said Saxony-Anhalt’s health minister Petra Grimm-Benne, of the Social Democrats, who currently chairs the Conference of Health Ministers (GMK).

According to the GMK, new virus variants are expected to appear in autumn and winter. Over the weekend, federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) also warned that the more dangerous Delta variant could return to Germany. “That is why the federal Ministry of Health should draw up a master plan to combat the corona pandemic as soon as possible and coordinate it with the states,” Grimm-Benne said.

Preparations should also include an amendment of the Infection Protection Act, ministers urged. They want to see the states given powers to react to the infection situation in autumn and winter. They called on the government to initiate the legislative process in a timely manner, and get the states actively involved.

The current Infection Protection Act expires on September 23rd this year. Germany has loosened much of its Covid restrictions in the last months, however, face masks are still compulsory on public transport as well as on planes. 

READ ALSO: Do people in Germany still have to wear Covid masks on planes?

The health ministers said that from autumn onwards, it should be possible for states to make masks compulsory indoors if the regional infection situation calls for it. Previously, wearing a Covid mask was obligatory in Germany when shopping and in restaurants and bars when not sitting at a table. 

Furthermore, the so-called 3G rule for accessing some venues and facilities – where people have to present proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative test – should be implemented again if needed, as well as other infection protection rules, the ministers said. 

Bavaria’s health minister Klaus Holetschek, of the CSU, welcomed the ministers’ unanimous call for a revision of the Infection Protection Act. “The states must be able to take all necessary infection protection measures quickly, effectively, and with legal certainty,” he said.

North Rhine-Westphalia’s health minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) warned that no one should “lull themselves into a false sense of security”.

“We must now prepare for the colder season and use the time to be able to answer important questions about the immunity of the population or the mechanisms of infection chains,” he said.

On Tuesday, Germany reported 86,253 Covid infections within the latest 24 hour period, as well as 215 Covid-related deaths. The 7-day incidence stood at 437.6 infections per 100,000 people. However, experts believe there could be twice as many infections because lots of cases go unreported. 

READ ALSO: Five things to know about the Covid pandemic in Germany right now