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Bonn: pharmacies run out of flu vaccine

Delivery bottlenecks : Bonn pharmacies run out of flu vaccine

Bonn is running out of flu vaccine. Many pharmacies in the city have long waiting lists - with up to 40 customers in some cases. The North Rhine Pharmacists' Association sees "very large bottlenecks".

Besides corona, it is an additional danger for the elderly, chronically ill and pregnant women: the flu. At a press event about a fortnight ago, Health Minister Jens Spahn had been vaccinated against it and said afterwards that 26 million doses had been ordered - more than ever before.

However, they would not be available all at once, which could lead to local supply bottlenecks. "But we have no supply bottlenecks", said Spahn.

"We no longer have any vaccine doses against influenza," said the owner of a pharmacy in downtown Bonn. She has 40 people on the waiting list. She could not say when new vaccine doses would arrive. "Supposedly in mid or late November.“

Maria Di Rosa-Ponert and her husband have also not yet been able to get vaccinated against flu. She writes to the GA: "We had ourselves put on the waiting list at the beginning of October. Last Saturday, she asked again at the pharmacy. "They could not tell me when the vaccine would arrive. But it will be processed according to the list and risk groups.

Like the pharmacy in the city centre, many people are feeling the same. Only recently, in a survey of 400 pharmacies, the North Rhine-Westphalian Pharmacists' Association stated that there were "very serious bottlenecks" with the vaccine.

Almost all of the pharmacies surveyed had indicated availability as "poor" or "very poor". Ute Schneider-Jacobs is the Bonn press spokesperson for the association and runs a pharmacy in Bad Godesberg. She can confirm for Bonn what the Association found in its survey.

A survey by the GA of pharmacies in Bonn confirms this. Almost all of them reply: "The vaccine doses are out. Another pharmacy reports to the GA that there are "many customer enquiries".

More than 30 are on the waiting list. "Two weeks ago, we got doses delivered," the pharmacist says on the phone. And he has already ordered more. "But we don't know when and how much we will get.

In a pharmacy a few streets away a parcel with new doses had arrived. "We've just received some again," says the pharmacist on the phone.

130 doses of vaccine. But even with them, the waiting list is long. "About 40 people are currently on it. A pharmacist from Dransdorf is also waiting for new doses. "At the beginning of the year we had ordered for the doctors," she says.

The doses have also arrived and have all been delivered in the meantime. In September, she reordered for the private patients. "Some of them have already arrived," she says, "but the wholesaler we order from had already informed us that it might take a little longer.

The pharmacist suspects that the coming flu season might not be too violent. Because the current regulations such as wearing a mask or keeping a distance would protect people against virus transmission anyway.

There is still no sign of a shortage of vaccine doses at the Mücke family doctor's surgery. "For people in the risk group and chronically ill people, we still have enough vaccine doses in stock," says Christina Agne, who is a trainee there.

The pharmacy from which they received the vaccine doses will contact them again as soon as a new delivery arrives. "When the time comes, they will ask if there is a need.“

Agne can confirm that the rush for flu shots has increased this year. "It is definitely higher than in previous years," she says. And not only among the over-60s.

She suspects that this also has to do with the fact that Health Minister Spahn recently called for vaccination. For the time being, however, the practice does not feel an excessive rush: "For us, it is still feasible in terms of time," says Agne.

In response to a Facebook call from the GA, most readers replied that they had already been vaccinated. One user wrote: "It's quite unproblematic. She went to her family doctor and was vaccinated directly. Another user: "I had made an appointment with my family doctor and got the vaccination.“

But some people had to wait a long time for their vaccination: "First with a prescription for the vaccine, now it is there after two weeks, and now it takes another two weeks to see the doctor.

Everything was off to a bumpy start at first, but it turned out to be something after all. Yet some people wrote that they had not yet been vaccinated.

(Original text: Thomas Leurs Translation: Mareike Graepel)