Protecting the weakest first

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The order in which vaccines will be offered Protecting the weakest first

While COVID-19 vaccines are in short supply, we must prioritise the groups that can be offered a vaccination. Residents and employees of nursing and care homes and everyone over the age of 80 are in Group 1, the top priority group. Vaccinations can currently only be offered to people in this group. Who belongs to this Group 1? Here is an overview.

6 Min. Lesedauer

The diagram is entitled "Who can be vaccinated first?" (Weitere Beschreibung unterhalb des Bildes ausklappbar als "ausführliche Beschreibung")

Vaccination regulations: this is the order in which COVID-19 vaccinations will be offered

The diagram is entitled “Who can be vaccinated first?”

Under this are three boxes:

The left-hand box reads: Group 1, including over-80-year-olds, residents of nursing and care homes, employees in intensive care units and accident and emergency, ambulance crews.

In the middle the box reads: Group 2, including 70-80-year-olds, people with Trisomy 21, dementia sufferers, transplant patients, certain contact people

The right-hand box reads: Group 3, including 60-70-year-olds, people with pre-existing conditions, police and fire brigade, nursery and school staff and people working in the retail trade

Foto: Bundesregierung

At present protection is being offered to those who need it most: residents of nursing and care homes, people over the age of 80 and those who work in nursing and the health sector who are exposed to a particularly high risk of infection. These are the people in the top priority group, Group 1.

Who belongs to the groups that will be offered a vaccination first? What order will vaccinations be offered in? Here is an overview:

Group 1 – Top priority (only people in this group can currently be offered a vaccination):

  • People over the age of 80
  • People undergoing treatment, nursing or care in residential homes for the elderly or other residential care homes, and people working in such homes
  • Nursing staff and carers working for home-based care services
  • Employees of medical facilities who are exposed to a particularly high risk of infection including people working in intensive care units and accident and emergency, ambulance crews and providers of specialised outpatient palliative care, people working in COVID-19 vaccination centres and in fields involving infection-relevant activities
  • Employees of medical facilities who treat, nurse or care for high-risk patients (especially in the fields of haemato-oncology and transplantation medicine)

When can I be vaccinated?

Currently, only people in priority group 1 (the top priority) can be vaccinated. If you are part of that group, find out what arrangement have been made in your Land (federal state) for making an appointment. 

Mobile vaccination teams are providing vaccinations in care and nursing homes; vaccinations are also being provided in the vaccination centres in the individual federal states.

Doctors’ practices cannot yet offer vaccinations.

Information will be made available in good time about the start of vaccinations for the next groups.

The groups being offered vaccinations will be extended "step by step"

Once the weakest are protected, the groups being offered vaccinations will be extended "step by step", stressed Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn. It will take at least one or two months before this first goal is achieved, he stated. "And that means it will still be a long winter for all of us. We will have to live with this virus for some time to come. But it also means that there is hope."

The latest COVID-19 vaccination regulations (as at 8 February) set out the individual groups in detail. You will find FAQs on the most important matters relating to the COVID-19 vaccination here.

Group 2 – High Priority

  • People over the age of 70
  • People with Trisomy 21, dementia sufferers, people with intellectual disabilities and people with severe psychiatric conditions including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or severe depression
  • People who have had an organ transplant
  • Cancer patients, people suffering severe lung disease (e.g. interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis, COPD), extreme obesity, severe diabetes mellitus, chronic liver or kidney disease
  • People for whom an individual medical assessment indicates a very high or high risk of a serious or fatal outcome because of specific circumstances in the case in question, should that person become infected with COVID-19
  • Up to two close contacts of people dependent on nursing care who do not live in a residential home, who are over the age of 70, have had an organ transplant or have one of the above diseases or disabilities
  • Up to two close contacts of pregnant women
  • People working in residential facilities for people with intellectual disabilities or who regularly treat, nurse or care for people with intellectual disabilities within the scope of home-based care services
  • People working in parts of medical facilities where they are exposed to a high or higher than usual risk of infection with COVID-19, in particular doctors and other staff who have regular patient contact, staff of blood and plasma donor services and staff working at COVID-19 test centres
  • Police and security personnel who are exposed to a high risk of infection in the course of their duties, for instance at demonstrations
  • People working in the public health service and in relevant positions in hospital infrastructure
  • People living or working in refugee homes or facilities for homeless people
  • People who work regularly in the homes of elderly people or people in need of nursing care to provide support services recognised under the legislation of the Länder as set out in Article 45a of the Eleventh Book of the German Social Code

Group 3 - Priority

  • People over the age of 60
  • People with the following conditions: obesity, chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, immunodeficiency or HIV, diabetes mellitus, diverse heart diseases, stroke sufferers, cancer, COPD or asthma, autoimmune diseases and rheumatism
  • Employees in medical facilities with a low exposure to risks (laboratory staff) or not involved in caring for patients with suspected infectious diseases
  • People who are members of the constitutional organs of the Federal Republic of Germany, or who work in particularly relevant positions within the constitutional organs, governments and administration, within the Federal Armed Forces, the police, customs authorities, fire brigade, disaster relief, the judiciary and the administration of justice, German diplomatic missions abroad and development cooperation organisations
  • People in relevant positions in companies providing critical infrastructure, in pharmacies and the pharmaceutical industry, essential public utilities and waste management, the food industry, transport, IT and telecommunications
  • People working in the food retail trade
  • Nursery and school teachers
  • People with precarious working or living conditions

Group 4 – No Priority

  • Everyone who is at less risk of a severe outcome should they become infected with COVID-19. They will be offered a vaccination after the priority groups.

A question of solidarity

"We have to prioritise. And that means that some people must be privileged," stressed Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn. It is a question of solidarity, he continued, for those who are vaccinated first not then to demand that they be treated differently from the others who have not yet been offered a vaccination, although they would like one. That is why distancing, hygiene and masks will remain the motto for everyone – as well as the need to take care of one another.

Essentially, everyone who is resident in Germany or has their normal place of residence in Germany or who works in certain care facilities in Germany although they do not live in Germany is entitled to be vaccinated in Germany. The German government will procure and finance all vaccines used in Germany. It will organise the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines to the individual Länder or federal states, which are then responsible for vaccinations on the ground, and for organising appointments at the vaccination centres. Here you can find the information on COVID-19 vaccinations in your Land (federal state).