close

GPs join Germany's vaccination drive: What you need to know

GPs join Germany's vaccination drive: What you need to know

GPs join Germany's vaccination drive: What you need to know

More than three months after coronavirus vaccinations started in Germany, general practitioners have now also joined the drive. At first, things are going to be slow and steady. Here’s what you need to know about coronavirus vaccinations in doctors’ surgeries. 

GPs start vaccinating in Germany

Germany’s vaccination programme got off to a sluggish start, but now the second stage of the campaign has finally begun. This week, 35.000 general practitioners nationwide will begin administering vaccinations against COVID-19

Some began already on April 6, while others are still waiting for supplies to be delivered and will start administering jabs in the next few days. Since vaccinations first began in the federal republic at the end of December, most have been administered by the country’s 430 vaccination centres. Here’s an overview of how things will work in practice in the GP surgeries. 

How many people can be vaccinated?

Initially, GPs will only be able to vaccinate a limited number of people. In the first week of April, 940.000 doses are being split between all of Germany’s participating GP surgeries. That works out at around 26 doses per practice. 

However, things will shift up a gear from the week beginning April 26, when the GP practices can expect to receive a total of more than three million doses - meaning they will, for the first time, receive more doses than the vaccination centres, which receive around 2,25 million doses per week.

Will the GP practices stick to Germany’s vaccination priority list?

As a rule, general practitioners will also be following the country’s nationwide vaccine priority list - meaning they cannot simply issue a general invitation to all of their patients. The practices themselves can decide how to assign appointments - for example by telephone or via an online booking system. 

Which vaccines are GPs using?

According to Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn, GPs will initially only be administering the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine, which is the only vaccine Germany currently has in sufficient supplies.

From April 19, GP surgeries are also due to start using the AstraZeneca vaccine, and then later also the Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccine. Since all vaccines are still in short supply, the Ministry of Health has made it clear that it is currently not possible to choose which vaccine one receives. 

What are the advantages of getting vaccinated at my GP surgery?

Germany’s vaccinations centres will continue to deliver vaccines, but getting one’s jab at the family doctor does have some advantages. General practitioners are experienced at delivering vaccines, and, unlike vaccination centres, know their patients and their medical histories well. They are also better-placed to provide follow-up care in the unlikely event of any side effects.

GPs are also generally trusted by their patients, and so may be able to dispel any anxieties or uncertainties they may have about getting vaccinated. Doctors’ surgeries are also much more accessible for those with limited mobility. 

Will the vaccines cause any delay to regular appointments?

The Federal Ministry of Health has let each individual GP surgery decide for itself whether it will offer additional consultation hours for vaccinations or to vaccinate in parallel with ongoing operations. It will therefore vary from practice to practice as to whether regular appointments get de-prioritised for the time being. 

A spokesperson for the Bavarian Association of General Practitioners has said that many doctors have already announced that they will be administering vaccines during extra consultation hours at lunchtime or in the evenings, to minimise disruption to the surgery’s regular operations.

Abi

Author

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...

Read more

JOIN THE CONVERSATION (0)

COMMENTS

Leave a comment