Scarce corona vaccine: when company doctors want to boost

Status: 01/12/2022 10:02 a.m.

Company doctors are the third pillar of the vaccination campaign. But they currently have to cancel appointments again and again because the vaccine is missing. What role do they play in the current booster vaccinations?

By Lilli-Marie Hiltscher, tagesschau.de

“Up to 1000 employees in the BASF vaccination center can be vaccinated every day,” says Claudia Schönfeld, spokeswoman for Germany’s largest chemical company. The company has set up its own vaccination center for its employees, offering first, second and booster vaccinations. The DAX group began vaccinating its staff against Corona in May of last year. The offer has been widely used since then, meanwhile “around 17,000 employees have already received a booster vaccination,” says Schönefeld when asked by tagesschau.de.

The number of boosted people continues to rise throughout Germany: by January 6, more than 33 million people had received a booster vaccination. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), around 40 percent of the population has been boosted. “The company doctors are primarily concerned with administering third-party vaccinations in the company,” says Anette Wahl-Wachendorf from the Association of German Company and Company Doctors (VDBW) when asked by tagesschau.de.

There are no exact numbers

It is difficult to determine what proportion the company doctors actually contribute to the booster vaccinations. The RKI reports in its weekly report that a total of 683,375 people were boosted by company doctors by January 6th. But the number should be treated with caution, explains Wahl-Wachendorf: “The reporting systems for company doctors are very different. As a result, the data is sometimes not recorded correctly.”

In its weekly report, the RKI also informs about this “imprecision in the allocation of vaccination data”: “Company doctors can either use the ‘digital vaccination rate monitoring’ under their own identification or report via vaccination centers with their identification or transmit their data via the portal of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians. “

No overview of the booster offers of the companies

In addition, it does not record how many companies across Germany actually offer a booster for their employees. A survey from July last year carried out by the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) came to the result that only around 28 percent of companies offer their staff first and second vaccinations against Covid-19.

However, there are no current figures: “On the basis of the feedback we receive from company doctors, we can only estimate that the vaccination offers in companies are probably declining slightly,” explains the VDBW expert.

Company doctors as an important support

Nevertheless, Wahl-Wachendorf believes that company doctors play a decisive role in the pandemic: “Company doctors are important advisors in crisis management teams in companies. They can help make decisions that are sensible and necessary, but do not overshoot the mark.” In addition, company doctors are able to draw up sensible hygiene plans depending on the workplace: “In their function, they keep an eye on the workplace and employees, which gives them an important role.”

For the probably declining number of vaccination offers in companies, there are several explanations: “The demand for third-party vaccinations is there. However, it happens again and again that company doctors do not receive the ordered quantities of vaccination doses. This makes the situation for company doctors unpredictable and unpredictable Often companies completely stop the offer if appointments have to be canceled again and again. ”

The big problem is BioNTech / Pfizer’s vaccine, of which there are currently too few doses. Company doctors are only entitled to a maximum of five BioNTech / Pfizer vials, according to the expert Wahl-Wachendorf. According to the recommendation of the Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO), BioNTech / Pfizer is the only one who may be vaccinated on people under 30 years of age. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said that on the ARD broadcast Hard but fair, One is currently re-examining the STIKO’s recommendation not to impose Moderna on people who are younger than 30 years old.

The Federal Government’s crisis team shared upon request tagesschau.de However, with the fact that enough Biontech vaccine is available to vaccinate the target group according to the STIKO recommendation. Company doctors had received 4.5 million vaccine doses since the 14th calendar week 2021. From the point of view of the company doctors, however, it is not enough to meet the demand.

Around ten percent of the booster appointments are canceled

On average, around ten percent of all booster appointments made with company doctors are canceled, the VDBW expert estimates: “On the one hand, because there is not enough vaccine and doctors cannot keep appointments. On the other hand, employees are using it more and more frequently Offers outside of the companies to boost. ” Because vaccination is again increasingly taking place in the vaccination centers that are still open.

That is why more and more companies are stopping the vaccination campaign in-house, says Wahl-Wachendorf. One example of this is Commerzbank: “After our vaccination campaign has been successfully completed in 2021, no further in-house vaccination initiative is currently planned,” said a spokeswoman when asked by tagesschau.de. However, the “employees are released from work to attend an external vaccination appointment. Both the travel time and the time for the vaccination count as working hours.”

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