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Why should I get vaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus?

The vaccination serves to protect health and the protection of fellow human beings. Unfortunately, the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus too often has a deadly effect, especially in the generation of people over 80.

Is it possible to offer all citizens in Germany a vaccination offer in the summer?

Yes. Around 70 million vaccination doses are expected in the second quarter - only around 15 million of these are from AstraZeneca.
Status: March 31, 2021

What is the purpose of the corona vaccination?

There are currently no drugs that are sufficiently effective to treat COVID-19. The vaccines currently in the approval process are the first real chance to make the infectious disease manageable by medical means. The vaccination is intended to ensure that fewer people get sick and that the disease progresses less severely. This is the only way to get out of the pandemic.

Do I have to get vaccinated?

No. Vaccination is voluntary.

How Safe is a New COVID-19 Vaccine?

A vaccine is only brought onto the market after it has been adequately checked (preclinical and clinical phase, approval test, requirements of the approval authorities and market approval, post-approval monitoring). After it has been approved for the market, there is constant monitoring (“surveillance”) to determine its effectiveness and possible side effects. Side effects and vaccination reactions are recorded centrally in Germany - and regardless of manufacturer - by the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI). By combining national and international observations, it can be ensured that risks of vaccines are also recorded that are so rare that they only become visible after a very large number of vaccinations have been carried out.

The clinical studies on the tolerability, safety and efficacy of the vaccines were reviewed in three study phases. The phase 3 clinical trials in particular were very broad. In addition, in preparatory non-clinical studies, the vaccines with increased amounts of active ingredient were examined in animals to investigate possible effects on the body that could indicate damage. The quality requirements in the European approval process are very high. That is also a question of reliability and in the interests of all EU citizens.

Since when has vaccination been carried out in North Rhine-Westphalia?

Since December 27, 2020, the first vaccinations have initially only taken place directly in the senior citizens' and care facilities and not in the vaccination centers. Those responsible on site decide on their selection and order. The vaccination centers were opened on February 8 in North Rhine-Westphalia.

How long have the vaccination centers in North Rhine-Westphalia been open?

The 53 vaccination centers in North Rhine-Westphalia have been open since February 8th.

When can I make an appointment for my vaccination?

Appointments have been possible since January 25, including online registration on the website www.116117.de

Since when have the hospital staff been vaccinated?

From January 18, 2021, vaccinations can be carried out for hospital staff in hospital areas particularly affected by Corona (e.g. emergency rooms, COVID wards). The vaccine is inoculated there by their own staff. Since February 22nd, hospitals have been able to have their staff not named in priority group 1 vaccinated. In addition, on February 26, the Ministry of Health asked the municipalities to submit a vaccination offer to the following groups of people:

  • Medical staff working on an outpatient basis with regular and direct patient contact. These include, for example, (dental) doctors, their medical practice staff, medicine providers and midwives
  • People who work in the public health service
  • Blood and plasma donation service personnel
  • Staff in SARS-CoV-2 vaccination and test centers

Which other groups of people can be vaccinated?

From March 8th, the following groups of people will receive a vaccination offer:

  • Day care workers, day care workers
  • Teachers at elementary, special needs and special schools
  • Police officers with direct contact with citizens - starting with the members of the Einsatzhundschaft
  • Personnel, residents and employees of the workshops for disabled people and in special forms of living
  • In addition to people with care level 5, bedridden people over 80 years of age and bed-ridden people with care level 4 are to be vaccinated in their home life from now on.

In addition, a vaccination offer is to be made available to people over the age of 70 from the beginning of April. Due to the very large group of people over 70 (around 1.6 million people), a step-by-step approach is currently being coordinated.

From Saturday, April 3, there will also be a vaccination offer for people over the age of 60. 450,000 appointments are available for this.

Will the vaccination cost me anything?

No, vaccination will be free of charge for citizens regardless of their insurance status. The federal government bears the cost of the vaccine. The federal states bear the costs for the medical products (syringes and needles). In addition, the federal states share the costs of setting up and operating the vaccination centers with the federal government.

What vaccines are currently available?

The two mRNA vaccines Comirnaty from BioNTech and mRNA-1273 from Moderna as well as the vaccine from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson are currently approved in Germany. The approval is given by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). A current overview of the approved vaccines can be found on the EMA website. It is expected that further vaccines will be approved in the coming quarters of 2021.

Who will be vaccinated first - and why?

It is important that particularly vulnerable groups (elderly people or residents of old people's and nursing homes) are vaccinated first. They are particularly at risk from the SARS-CoV-2 virus because the disease is often severe and their life is at high risk.
There are also staff in medical and nursing facilities - for example in the emergency rooms and intensive care units of hospitals as well as in outpatient and inpatient care facilities.
The "Standing Vaccination Commission" (STIKO) of the federal government decides on the exact order. It is based at the Robert Koch Institute and develops vaccination recommendations for Germany. In doing so, the STIKO not only takes into account the benefits for the vaccinated individual, but also for the entire population.

The exact sequence is determined by vaccination priorities. These vaccination priorities are determined by the Federal Government's Vaccination Ordinance. These priorities correspond to the recommendations of the "Standing Vaccination Commission" (STIKO). It is based at the Robert Koch Institute and develops vaccination recommendations for Germany. In doing so, the STIKO not only takes into account the benefits for the vaccinated individual, but also for the entire population.

The prioritization in detail:
Highest priority

  • Over 80 year olds
  • Persons who are treated, cared for or cared for in inpatient and semi-inpatient facilities for the treatment, care or care of older people or people in need of care, or who work,
  • Nursing staff in outpatient care services as well as people who assess and examine in the context of outpatient care
  • People who work in areas of medical facilities with a very high risk of exposure to the coronavirus, especially in intensive care units, in emergency rooms, in emergency services, in specialized outpatient palliative care, in vaccination centers and in areas where infection with the Coronavirus-relevant aerosol-generating activities are carried out (such as bronchoscopy)
  • People who regularly treat, look after or care for people in medical facilities who are at a very high risk of a serious or fatal course of disease after an infection with the coronavirus - especially in oncology or transplant medicine

High priority

  • Over 70 year olds
  • People with trisomy 21
  • People after an organ transplant
  • People with dementia or with an intellectual disability or with severe psychiatric illness (bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, severe depression)
  • People with malignant haematological diseases or solid tumor diseases in need of treatment who are not in remission or whose remission period is less than five years
  • People with severe chronic lung diseases (e.g. interstitial lung disease, COPD cystic fibrosis), diabetes mellitus (with HbA1c ≥ 58 mmol / mol or ≥ 7.5%), liver cirrhosis or another chronic liver disease, chronic kidney disease or obesity (with a BMI over 40) who, according to an individual medical assessment, have a very high or high risk of a serious or fatal course of the disease after an infection with the coronavirus due to special circumstances
  • Up to two close contacts of people in need of care who do not live in an institution, who are over 70 years old, who have had an organ transplant or who have one of the aforementioned diseases or disabilities.
  • Up to two close contact persons for pregnant women
  • People who work in inpatient or semi-inpatient facilities for mentally or mentally handicapped people or who regularly treat, care for or care for mentally or mentally handicapped people as part of outpatient care services
  • People who work in areas of medical facilities with a high or increased risk of exposure to the coronavirus, in particular doctors and staff with regular patient contact, staff from the blood and plasma donation services and in SARS-CoV-2 test centers
  • Police and law enforcement officers who are exposed to a high risk of infection while on duty, for example during demonstrations. It also includes soldiers who are exposed to a high risk of infection when deployed abroad.
  • People in the public health service and in particularly relevant positions in maintaining the hospital infrastructure
  • People who are housed or work in refugee and homeless facilities in particular
  • People who regularly work with older people or people in need of care within the framework of the offers for support in everyday life within the meaning of Section 45a of the Eleventh Book of the Social Code

Increased priority

  • Over 60 year olds
  • People with the following diseases, in particular: cancers in remission without treatment (remission period at least 5 years), immunodeficiency or HIV infection, autoimmune diseases, rheumatological diseases, heart failure, arrhythmia, stroke, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes mellitus (with HbA1c <58 mmol / mol or <7.5%), obesity (BMI over 30)
  • People who, according to an individual medical assessment, have an increased risk of a serious or fatal course of the disease after an infection with the coronavirus due to special circumstances
  • Up to two close contact persons of people in need of care who do not live in an institution, who are over 60 years old and have one of the aforementioned diseases
  • People who are members of constitutional organs or in particularly relevant positions in the constitutional organs, in governments and administrations, in the armed forces, in the police, in customs, in the fire service, in disaster control including the technical relief organization, in the judiciary and the administration of justice, work in the diplomatic missions of the Federal Republic of Germany or in development cooperation organizations based in the Federal Republic of Germany
  • People who work in particularly relevant positions in institutions and companies of critical infrastructure, in particular in pharmacy, pharmaceutical industry, funeral services, food industry, water and energy supply, sewage disposal and waste management, transport and traffic as well as in information technology and telecommunications
  • Employees who work in areas of medical facilities with a low risk of exposure to the coronavirus, especially in laboratories and staff who do not care for patients
  • People who work in the food retail sector
  • People who work in childcare facilities, day care facilities, child and youth welfare institutions and as teachers
  • People with precarious working or living conditions

Do I have to register somewhere as a person entitled to vaccinate, if so, where?

By April 5: The Ministry of Health has asked the municipalities to use vaccine contingents that cannot be fully used to care for other people from the second priority group. For this reason, people with severe previous illnesses of priority 2 can be vaccinated in these vaccination centers. The districts and independent cities are responsible for organizing the vaccination centers. If a vaccination center sets up such an additional offer, the districts and independent cities will draw attention to this in a suitable manner (usually in the context of press and public relations work). From April 6, the group of previously ill people can also make an appointment at many general practitioners' practices.

Which vaccine will I be vaccinated with?

The available vaccine is inoculated. A selection cannot take place. AstraZeneca's vaccine is currently only used in people over the age of 60.

Life partners may also be vaccinated in the cohorts for which new dates are gradually being activated. Doesn't it matter how old they are?

Yes.

If the civil partners are not spouses - how can proof of a civil partnership be provided? Is a common address mandatory?

The MAGS advocates the most pragmatic approach possible at the municipal level.

If younger cohorts are being vaccinated in the meantime - can someone over 80 bring forward their already booked appointment now? If yes how?

This is regulated by the respective local vaccination center on its own responsibility and in consultation with the associations of statutory health insurance physicians. If there is capacity, it may happen that this is possible. It may be worth calling the appointment hotline.

Bedridden people over 80 and people with care levels 5 and 4 can be vaccinated at home? How and with whom do you arrange a vaccination appointment? Directly through your family doctor or through whom?

In a first step, some municipalities / districts have already started vaccinating people in need of care (bedridden) with at least care level 4 in their own home (decrees of March 1 and March 20, 2021). Other districts and independent cities will soon follow suit and step by step in the coming weeks. Either doctors from the vaccination center will drive down and vaccinate several people who have been vaccinated, or the associations of statutory health insurance physicians will organize a vaccination through the family doctor system. Specifically, this means: people in need of care with care level 5 as well as with care level 4 - in their own home - receive vaccination offers. In addition, when vaccinating every person in need of care, the two contact persons entitled according to the Corona vaccination ordinance can also be vaccinated unbureaucratically. The responsibility for organizing the relevant appointments is the responsibility of the districts and independent cities.

In order to determine the corresponding persons (in need of care) entitled to vaccination, inquiries were made at the municipal level to the regional general practitioners' practices / general practitioners. The feedback from the general practitioners forms the basis for the respective on-site procedure. In this context, the MAGS asked the two general practitioner associations of North Rhine and Westphalia-Lippe to inform and sensitize their members, i.e. the respective general practitioners, accordingly. For this purpose, the vaccine from the manufacturer BioNTech may be transported in a quality-assured manner for vaccinations in the home of those entitled to vaccination. The vaccination centers are informed about the procedure to be followed and are encouraged to cooperate with general practitioners to enable vaccination in the home. The state has also regulated by decree that other bedridden people who have reached the age of 80 (priority 1) should receive a vaccination offer in their own home.
The general practitioners should provide the vaccination centers with lists of people who are authorized to vaccinate. If there are difficulties in implementing the vaccination on site, those entitled to vaccinate (or relatives) should contact the respective regional vaccination center.

Will there be an overview of which resident doctors vaccinate in which cities?

That cannot be said at the moment, as the procedure is regulated by the federal government. At the beginning of April, however, family doctors should start vaccinating. You will receive the first vaccination doses for this.

Do people with care level 4/5 have to cancel existing vaccination appointments in vaccination centers themselves if they get an appointment at home?

Should such a case arise, the coordinating unit of the vaccination center should be contacted in advance.

Care level 4/5 and bedridden people over 80 may name two caregivers who will be vaccinated. What is the exact procedure here? Are you vaccinated in one go?

Yes, they will be vaccinated pragmatically on site and must be named in advance when making an appointment. You must be on site with the person in need of care when they are vaccinated.

Can pregnant women get vaccinated?

As there is currently insufficient data on the use of mRNA vaccines during pregnancy, the Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) does not currently recommend vaccination during pregnancy. No data are available on vaccination during breastfeeding. However, STIKO believes it is extremely unlikely that vaccination of the mother while breastfeeding poses a risk to the infant. Pregnant women with previous illnesses and the resulting high risk of severe COVID-19 disease can be offered a vaccination in individual cases after risk-benefit analysis and after being informed. Accidental vaccination during pregnancy is not an indication for termination of pregnancy.

For which pre-existing conditions can I not be vaccinated?

So far, no special restrictions due to previous illnesses beyond the usual recommendations / restrictions for other vaccinations are known.
As with other vaccinations, you should not be acutely seriously ill, for example not have a fever above 38.5 ° C. If you are allergic to any component of the vaccine, you should also not be vaccinated. This should be clarified during the preliminary medical consultation at the vaccination center. The usual restrictions apply to rheumatic diseases - however, the German Society for Rheumatology expressly recommends corona vaccination in its statement. No approval has yet been given for children and adolescents under 16 or 18 years of age (depending on the vaccine).

What proof must be presented for a vaccination?

Proof of eligibility is: the identity card or another photo ID. For residents of care and other facilities, the facilities or companies provide a certificate. People with chronic illnesses receive a medical certificate.

Is it even possible to vaccinate so many people in a short period of time?

In the German health system there are high numbers of vaccinations every year. The annual flu vaccinations are a good example of this.

With the corona vaccination, it is essential to vaccinate older and particularly vulnerable people quickly. For this purpose, in addition to setting up vaccination centers, mobile vaccination teams are also used, for example, coming to old people's and care facilities to vaccinate the affected groups of people (residents and staff). These vaccination teams are coordinated by the local vaccination centers.

The staff in hospitals can be vaccinated by doctors from the respective hospital.

Is one vaccination enough?

No, the corona vaccination with the currently most widely used vaccine from BioNTech has to be carried out twice with an interval of a few weeks. Otherwise she cannot develop full vaccination protection. The same applies to vaccination with the vaccine from Moderna.

Are the vaccines even safe?

The clinical studies on the tolerability, safety and efficacy of the vaccines were reviewed in the three usual study phases. The phase 3 clinical trials in particular were very broad. In addition, in preparatory non-clinical studies, the vaccines with increased amounts of active ingredient were examined in animals to investigate possible effects on the body that could indicate damage. The quality requirements in the European approval process are very high. All vaccines approved in the EU meet these requirements. That is also a question of reliability and in the interests of all EU citizens.

Even after the vaccine has been approved, tests will continue to be carried out to obtain further information on the safety of the vaccine (e.g. occurrence of rare adverse effects) after use in larger population groups.

Why are there vaccination centers?

Vaccination centers can ensure a good organizational process and ensure that certain COVID-19 vaccines are correctly stored and used. For example, some vaccines need to be stored at particularly low temperatures.
In addition, in vaccination centers, where hundreds of people are vaccinated every day, vaccine deliveries are used up in large quantities - before they expire. According to the current state of knowledge, their shelf life is very limited.
You can find an overview of the vaccination centers in North Rhine-Westphalia on this page.

When will the centers be open?

The vaccination centers should be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. if there is sufficient vaccine available. In the start phase, depending on the vaccine available, different opening times can be provided.

How is the appointment allocation organized?

At best, online registration at www.116117.de should be used to make appointments. In North Rhine-Westphalia the associations of statutory health insurance physicians take on this task. The free telephone numbers 0800 116 117-01 (Rhineland) or 0800 116 117-02 (Westphalia) can also be used to make appointments. These have also been available daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. since January 25, 2021. Due to the strong demand, longer waiting times are unfortunately to be expected.

When can I get vaccinated?