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VACCINATIONS

EXPLAINED: How do I prove that I belong to one of Germany’s vaccine priority groups?

Germany’s vaccine programme divides people into priority groups. If you think you belong to a higher priority group, it's important to know what steps to take to secure a jab.

EXPLAINED: How do I prove that I belong to one of Germany's vaccine priority groups?
A coronavirus vaccination centre in Erfurt. Photo Martin Schutt/DPA

The groups are split into four, and depend on people’s risk of developing serious coronavirus symptoms, their age, and their exposure to infection at work.

If you are looking for a breakdown of who belongs to which priority group and when roughly these groups will be inoculated, please read our article on that subject HERE.

Complicating matters is the fact that vaccination programmes are carried out on the state level, meaning that they are being conducted at different speeds and the rules for how to apply for a jab are different from state to state.

“The one recommendation that I can give is that people ought to inquire with the health authorities in their home states,” Tanja Hinzmann from the National Doctor’s Association (KBV) told the Local Germany. 

“There is really no general advice that one can give for the whole country. In Berlin for example, rather than you applying for an appointment yourself, the city informs you directly,” she points out.

Most states require you to book your appointment yourself. Several, including Bavaria, Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony opened up appointments for people in priority group 2 in early March. Other states are following.

Priority group 2 includes people aged 70-79, people with serious pre-existing conditions, as well as primary school teachers, riot police and people who have contact with pregnant women. See the full list here.

There are four ways of proving that you belong to this priority group.

Age qualification

If you fall into this category due to your age, then all you need is an official document that proves your age. The most logical document to use here is your passport, but if you have a German ID card you can use that too.

In most states, the health authority will write to you to inform you that you can apply for an appointment. The appointment can be made online or via a local hotline. Contact information for North Rhine Westphalia for example can be found here.

Illness qualification

If you belong to priority group 2 because you have a medical condition then in most states you need to provide a document that has been signed by your doctor. 

The federal states have their own documents for this purpose. As an example, the form used in Schleswig Holstein can be found here

Generally the forms will be published by state health ministries and will mention the German phrase “Erkrangungsnachweis zur Priorisierten Sars-Cov2-Schutzimpfung” (proof of illness for prioritised Sars Cov2 vaccination).

READ MORE: How GP surgeries will speed up Covid-19 vaccinations from April

If you have not yet registered with a German GP, then now is the time to do so. Your GP will be able to decide whether you need to request your medical records from your last GP, or what other steps you now need to take.

In Bavaria, you need to send in a form filled out by your GP to the state vaccine commission before you receive an appointment. The vaccine commission will consider your application and then inform you that you can apply for an appointment.

But this route of receiving a certificate from the doctor doesn’t apply everywhere.

In Berlin, for example, the state administration contacts people directly when it is their turn to have a vaccine. They obtain information on people with pre-existing illnesses from the health insurers.

“This is obviously a problem if you haven’t yet registered with a doctor, as the health insurer won’t have your medical records,” says Hinzmann. “In this case, it is a blind spot in the system.”

The Berlin Senate did not immediately reply to a request from the Local for clarity on this issue.

Contact for person in home care or pregnant woman

In the second priority group, two contact people for someone in home care or a pregnant woman are entitled to a vaccination.

Again, there is a process for proving that this applies to you. You and the person you are caring for, or the pregnant person, will both need to sign a form naming you as a contact person. Here is the document in Rhineland-Palatinate.

Most states will also require you to bring a copy of their identification document, as well as yours, to your vaccination appointment.

Some states have stricter requirements than others on the form of identification you need to bring. For example Schleswig-Holstein requires copies of both sides of your support person’s ID card.

So again, it’s really important to get the right information from your local health authority.

Professional qualification for vaccination

The second priority group contains a list of professions who are entitled to vaccinations, including primary school teachers, special needs teachers and pre-school teachers.

There is a separate form to be filled out for people who qualify in this category. The form needs to be signed off at your place of work. You should enquire with your employer about having the form completed.

Depending on the state you live in, you might still need to apply for the appointment yourself though. Again, the best thing to do is contact your local health authority for further information.

You can find your local government here by entering your postcode.

Please keep in mind that this article, as with all of our guides, are to provide assistance only. They are not intended to take the place of official legal advice.

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VACCINES

Major milestone: more than 40 million Germans vaccinated against Covid

More than 40 million people in Germany have received at least one vaccination against the coronavirus so far, while a quarter of the population are fully inoculated, new government data shows.

Major milestone: more than 40 million Germans vaccinated against Covid
A vaccine is prepared in Munich. credit: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

Cracking the 40 million mark means that 48.1 percent of the total population has now received at least a first jab against the disease, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) that was released on Saturday.

Some 21.35 million people have received both jabs while 60.1 million vaccine doses have been administered in Germany so far.

This week, for the first time, the million mark in daily vaccinations was cracked on three days, Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) wrote on Twitter. According to the RKI, about two-thirds of all vaccinations have been administered in vaccination centres, and one-third in doctors’ offices.

Among the states, Bremen continues to record the highest proportion of people with first-time vaccinations at 52.9 percent, with Saxony bringing up the rear at 43.0 percent.

Meanwhile Saarland has the highest proportion of residents with full coverage, at 30.4 percent, and has also administered the most vaccine doses per resident to date.

While the first five months of the vaccine programme were based on a priority list, since Monday everyone resident in the country can register themselves for a vaccine appointment.

Case rate continues to fall

Health authorities reported 1,911 new infections to the RKI on Saturday morning. A week ago that figure stood at 2,294 new infections. The seven-day incidence dropped lightly to 18.3 from 18.6 cases per 100,000 people on Friday.

Nationwide, 129 new deaths were recorded within 24 hours on Saturday.

Opposition plans inquiry into pandemic failures

Wolfgang Kubicki, deputy leader of the Free Democrats, has said his party will push for a Bundestag inquiry into the pandemic response after September’s national election.

“There needs to be a parliamentary review of this after the election,” Kubicki said on Saturday at a party convention. “That was the announcement of a committee of inquiry,” he confirmed when asked for clarification by a journalist.

Kubicki criticized, among other things, the purchase of “unfit masks” by Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU). He said that the committee would also look into controversial aspects of the pandemic response including the government’s testing strategy and the disputes over whether intensive care units reached breaking point.

SEE ALSO: 7 things the Covid-19 crisis has taught us about Germany

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