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Anger over “vaccine queue jumping” after hundreds get jab early

Anger over “vaccine queue jumping” after hundreds get jab early

Anger over “vaccine queue jumping” after hundreds get jab early

An investigation by the DPA has revealed that hundreds of people in Germany have already been vaccinated, despite not being on the priority list. Many of those involved have since apologised for their actions, but patient advocates are calling for harsh penalties for those who skip the queue. 

Investigation reveals people receiving corona vaccine out of turn

For the time being, vaccines are in short supply in Germany. The federal government has therefore drawn up a vaccination priority list, to ensure that those who are most at risk receive their jabs first. Currently, Germany is only vaccinating those over the age of 80, as well as frontline healthcare workers. 

It is therefore not surprising that many people have reacted with anger and frustration to the revelation that, in at least nine federal states, multiple people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 without waiting their turn. An investigation by the German Press Agency has revealed numerous instances of local politicians, clergymen, firefighters and police officers receiving their jabs, despite not belonging to the first priority group. 

Local politicians, police officers and firefighters receive jabs early

Several cases involving local politicians have come to light in Saxony-Anhalt, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria, including the 31-year-old mayor of Hennef, the mayor of Wachtberg, and the mayor of Halle, Bernd Wiegand. Wiegand said that clinics first attempted to offer any leftover doses to relatives of those in the first priority group. If this was not possible, a “random number generator” determined who was next offered a jab. 

Two district administrators in Lower Saxony have since apologised for their actions. The mayor of Donauwörth in Bavaria has also said that, in hindsight, he would have acted differently. 

Jabs were also offered ahead of time to members of the police and the fire brigade. In Koblenz in Rhineland-Palatinate, the fire brigade used a vaccination centre it was operating to vaccinate its own staff. Almost half of the 127 who received jabs were not part of the first priority group. By the end of January, Hamburg had already vaccinated 102 firefighters and two police officers. Reports also surfaced of 330 police officers receiving their jabs early Saxony-Anhalt, and a further 400 officers in Saxony. 

It’s a thorny topic, but some of those in question have defended their actions by saying they received vaccines that would otherwise have been wasted. This is because the vaccine must be prepared earlier in the day and then can only be kept for a few hours. If people cancel their appointments, the vaccine doses cannot be used at a later date. What should be done with these “extra” doses has not been officially regulated. 

German patient association calls for sanctions

However, the German Foundation for Patient Protection has demanded that those who skip the vaccine queue should face severe consequences. “Again and again cases become known of people getting unauthorised vaccines,” said board member Eugen Brysch, adding that it was “incomprehensible” that the vaccine ordinance did not include any sanctions for “queue-skipping.” 

Byrsch said that, in nursing homes and hospitals, vaccines must first be given to those in need of care and employees. He admitted that in vaccination centres it cannot be expected that everyone will turn up to their appointments, but that, instead of randomly vaccinating high-profile figures, they could keep a waiting list of volunteers from the same vaccination priority group.

Abi

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Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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