Family doctors in Germany to begin offering Covid-19 jabs as vaccine campaign speeds up
Coronavirus vaccinations in doctors' offices are to begin after Easter and gradually ramp up, according to Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) on Thursday.
"This won't be a big step yet, but it will be an important one," said Spahn (CDU) at a press conference in Berlin on Thursday.
For the first week of the new campaign, 35,000 GP practices have already ordered 1.4 million vaccine doses. According to the plans of the federal government and the states, 940,000 doses are to be initially delivered to doctors.
In addition, vaccination centres throughout Germany are to receive 2.25 million doses per week.
Procedures are now being put in place in order to significantly increase the amount of jabs offered in a few weeks, said Spahn.
By the end of April, he said, more than three million doses per week would be provided to doctors’ offices. The vaccine is delivered from wholesalers to pharmacies, following governmental approval, and then to practices.
The first step will be to start with family doctors' practices, and then specialists will also receive the vaccines.
Which vaccines will be used?
For the first two weeks, practices are to use only Biontech/Pfizer vaccine, Spahn said. Starting the week of April 19th, AstraZeneca is also scheduled to be used, followed by the introduction of the US's Johnson & Johnson vaccine the following week.
Spahn called on people who already have appointments at vaccination centres to keep them.
"The 430 vaccination centers we have so far will be joined by 35,000 more after Easter, and that's no Aprilscherz (April Fool's joke)," said Adreas Gassen, head of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, on Thursday.
Germany has been criticised for a sluggish vaccination programme met with supply shortages and an ongoing controversy over the use of the AstraZeneca jab. Spahn previously promised that as many vaccines would be carried out in April as during the first quarter of the year.
As of Wednesday, only five percent of Germans had received both a first and second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.