German pharmacies to offer Covid vaccinations ‘from February 8th’

Starting in February, people in Germany may be able to get a Covid vaccination at their local pharmacy.

Pharmacy staff behind the counter at a pharmacy in Hamburg
Pharmacy staff work behind the counter at a pharmacy in Hamburg. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marcus Brandt

In a move intended to ease pressure on state vaccination clinics, mobile teams and GPs, staff at pharmacies have been trained in administering the vaccines since early January.

At the same time, the government has been working to set up the technical infrastructure required for the pharmacies to transfer data on vaccinations carried out to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

Speaking to Tagesschau on Friday, Gabriele Regina Overwiening, president of the German Pharmacists’ Association, said the pharmacies were now ready to start rolling out jabs to customers. 

“Next week, pharmacies will be able to order Covid vaccines for the first time in order to offer vaccinations at their branches,” she said. “The first vaccinations can then be carried out from February 8th.”

READ ALSO: German pharmacies to offer Covid jabs ‘within two weeks’

Germany amended its Covid laws in December to pave the way for pharmacists, dentists and vets to carry out jabs alongside doctors.

Pharmacies will be remunerated for carrying out the jabs in the same way that GPs are, but there’s no obligation for them to participate in the scheme. The prerequisite for doing so is that the staff administering the jabs are properly trained.

Up until recently, people have had to rely on doctors, paediatricians, vaccination centres and mobile teams in order to get inoculated against Covid-19.

As of Friday, 73.8 percent of the general population were fully vaccinated, while just over half (52.2 percent) of the population had received a booster jab.

The assistance of the pharmacies could be a useful aid if the government opts to implement a general vaccine mandate. Such a move is currently being discussed in parliament with a vote planned for the coming weeks. 

READ MORE: German MPs set out plans for over-18s vaccine mandate

Member comments

  1. Welcome to the 21st century. They’ll be accepting payments with debit cards next. Highly disruptive stuff.

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Germany’s Scholz rules out second attempt at vaccine mandate

After an attempt to introduce an over-60s vaccine mandate was rejected in parliament, German chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has said his government will not bring the issue to a vote again.

Germany's Scholz rules out second attempt at vaccine mandate

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has rejected the idea of a second attempt to introduce mandatory Covid vaccinations.

“There is no legislative majority in the Bundestag for compulsory vaccination,” he said on Thursday evening after consultations with the leaders of the federal states in Berlin.

Expressing his regret at the lack of support for the move, he said this reality would have to be the “starting point” for any future vaccination drives. 

“I am, of course, disappointed that there was no majority today, I don’t want to hide that at all,” said Scholz. “I am still convinced that it would be right to have compulsory vaccination in Germany. With the Bundestag decision, however, a very clear statement by the legislator had now been made.”

Despite the fact that Covid-19 vaccines have been available in Germany for more than a year, around 24 percent of the population still have no vaccine protection whatsoever.

Of these, around 4-5 percent are too young to get the Covid vaccine, but around 20 percent are either against the idea or still on the fence. 

“We will do everything we can to convince even more citizens of this country to get vaccinated,” Scholz told reporters. “This will require our creativity.”

READ ALSO: Scholz gets stinging defeat in parliament with Covid jab vote

On Thursday, a bill for compulsory vaccination for everyone over the age of 60 was voted down in the Bundestag, dealing a painful blow to its supporters in the traffic-light coalition. 

The bill had been promoted primarily by SPD and Green MPs, including Scholz himself and Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD). A motion from the opposition CDU/CSU parties to introduce a vaccine register and potential target vaccine mandates was also rejected by the house. 

‘Bitter defeat’

Scholz is not alone in ruling out the possibility of reviving the vaccine mandate issue. 

Speaking to Tagesschau in Berlin, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said the failure of the bill had been a “bitter defeat” that made it unlikely that any future bill on the subject would gain enough support to succeed.

“It’s a clear result that has to be lived with,” he said. “I’m sceptical about whether we can still achieve anything through additional talks.”

In a democracy, he said, this had to be respected.

But he explained that the failure of compulsory vaccination is bad news for vulnerable patients, for those who work to treat and care for Covid patients, and for all those who have to live with restrictions. A new wave of infections is likely by autumn at the latest, Lauterbach said.

READ ALSO: German Health Minister to target undecided in new Covid jab campaign