We must protect the weakest first

Jens Spahn presents vaccination regulations We must protect the weakest first

Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn has presented the COVID-19 vaccination regulations, which set out clearly who will be vaccinated first. "The regulations specify who will be offered the COVID-19 vaccination when," said the minister. Very elderly people and those living in care homes will be given the first option. 

The photo shows Jens Spahn.

Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn presents the vaccination regulations. 

Photo: Getty Images/AFP/John MACDOUGALL

Those most in need of protection will be offered the vaccination first: people living in care and nursing homes, over 80-year-olds and the people who care for these groups, explained Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn when he presented the vaccination regulations on Friday. These people make up the top priority group. "The primary goal of our vaccination drive is to protect the weakest," said Jens Spahn, because we will not initially have enough vaccine for everybody who wants to be vaccinated. 

The order is clearly set out

The minister called on everyone to remain calm in this situation. When the federal states begin to vaccinate, probably on 27 December, there will be a limited number of vaccine doses available, and the order in which people will be vaccinated is set out clearly. The top priority group comprises people over the age of 80 and the people who care for them, as well as medical staff with an extremely high risk of exposure to the coronavirus, especially those working in intensive care units, accident and emergency, and the ambulance services. Nursing staff whose patients have a high risk of suffering a severe or fatal outcome also belong to this group, e.g. those working in transplant medicine.

Vaccinations will be offered to wider group

Once the weakest have been protected, vaccinations will be offered step by step to a wider group. The minister called for patience, since this might take one or two months. And that means that winter will still be long for all of us. We will have to live with this virus for some time still. But it also means that there is hope."

According to the regulations, everybody aged 70 or more belongs to the high priority group, along with people who run a high risk of suffering a severe outcome, such as transplant patients. They will be joined by the police force’s public order units who are exposed to risks in the course of their duties to uphold public safety, close contacts of people in need of long-term care, pregnant women and people living in shelters for the homeless or asylum seeker accommodation.

The third group (fairly high priority) includes people aged 60 or more, and those with a higher than average risk of suffering a severe outcome, for instance people with chronic kidney or liver disease, cancer or an autoimmune condition, employees of general practitioners and laboratories. The staff working for the police force, the fire brigade, the judiciary and in the education sector can then also be vaccinated, as can individuals working in the retail trade and people with precarious working conditions including seasonal workers, those working in distributions centres and in the meat processing industry.

A question of solidarity

"We have to prioritise. And that means we have to give some people preferential treatment," explained Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn. It is a question of solidarity, for those who are vaccinated first not to demand that they be treated differently from all the others who have not yet been able to have the vaccination although they would like it. And that is why the distance, hygiene and mask regulations will continue to apply for everyone, along with the golden rule that "we take care of one another".

Everyone who lives in Germany or has their habitual abode here, and people who work in certain nursing facilities in Germany although they do not live in Germany are entitled to be vaccinated. The German government will procure and finance all vaccines used in Germany. It will organise the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines to the delivery points designated by the federal states. The federal states and local authorities will organise the vaccination centres, the mobile teams and the actual vaccinations in each state. They will be responsible for the initial vaccinations and for appointments. The Federal Ministry of Health provides answers to major questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.