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Jabs offered to 19,000 minors: City of Bonn invites all school pupils to the vaccination centre

Jabs offered to 19,000 minors : City of Bonn invites all school pupils to the vaccination centre

The first schools are already scheduled in at the WCCB on Saturday. Teachers are organising the vaccination campaign under tight time constraints because the vaccination centre will only be open for just two more weeks. Bonn remains one of the NRW cities with the highest incidence rates.

Under great time pressure, the first Bonn schools began organising vaccination of their pupils at the World Conference Center Bonn (WCCB) on Thursday. At short notice, the city authorities determined which schools should send pupils (from the age of twelve) who are willing to be vaccinated to the old plenary hall building and on which day. The Tannenbusch Gymnasium, Freiherr-vom-Stein Realschule and Clara-Schumann Gymnasium have the shortest lead time and are already arranged to attend on Saturday. 35 schools are scheduled in up to 1 September, when the city will close its immunisation centre.

“We have been busy with the issue since 6am,” Ursula Dreeser reports around noon. The headmistress at Bonn's Fünfte Gesamtschule in Kessenich received a phone call on Wednesday from the head of the local education authority, Hubert Zelmanski, to advise that her pupils could be vaccinated on Monday. All parents were contacted via email and messenger; she and her deputy went through all the classes to inform them about the city's offer, explained Dreeser. To make it easy for the pupils, they will be given printed consent forms. According to the city, parents only have to sign for twelve to fifteen-year-olds.

Pupils to walk to the WCCB in groups

Dreeser plans to send her pupils to the WCCB on Monday in groups on foot while classes continue. Parents have already offered to accompany them, the headmistress reports. “I am very grateful to the city that it is now happening so quickly,” Dreeser stresses. A health officer had taken a lot of time to answer their questions, she said.

The headmistress is not promoting the vaccination but is happy if as many pupils as possible get immunised. Because the number of infections in Bonn is continuing to rise - on Thursday, the incidence rate reached 121.9. In NRW, only Leverkusen has a higher rate with 124.6. For days now, Bonn has been one of the worst performers in the state, just as it was at the end of the third Corona wave. Ten- to 19-year-olds are the most affected - the incidence rate among this age group was 260 on Thursday (with 84 new cases in seven days). For comparison, the next highest incidence rate is in the 40-49 age group with 165 (66 cases).

At Bonn’s Fünfte Gesamtschule there is already a positive Corona test in a sixth-grade class. Children who were sitting immediately next to, in front of and behind the infected child must now go into quarantine too. The contact persons can be identified using the seating plans which are binding, explains headmistress Dreeser. These plans are also drawn up for the senior grades, who no longer have fixed class groups.

“We are pleased that the offer is there,” says Uwe Bramstedt, head of the Beethoven-Gymnasium. However, it is up to each individual to visit the vaccination centre on Sunday, he said. Bramstedt has agreed on a staggered schedule. The vaccination centre is flexible, he said. For example, families with siblings do not need to come twice, and parents can also be vaccinated. According to the rapid tests taken on the first day of school, the rate of vaccination at Beethoven-Gymnasium shows a differentiated picture. “There are fairly high quotas in the senior grades,” says the headmaster. But in grades five to nine there are differences, he explained.

No vaccinations in classrooms

Tannenbusch Gymnasium is scheduled in at the vaccination centre from 8am to 2pm on Saturday. “I have used all channels to inform parents and students,” says headmaster Eike Schultz, who would have preferred to offer the vaccinations on the school site. Nevertheless, he is glad that this opportunity is now available. Some teachers will be in attendance at the WCCB on Saturday so that the pupils will see familiar faces, he reports.

For Martin Finke, head of the Freiherr-vom-Stein-Realschule in Tannenbusch, it would be “even better” if the children and adolescents could be vaccinated in familiar surroundings. A “regional proximity” has practical advantages, he says, as he knows that some find it difficult to find their way to other parts of the city. On balance, however, Finke explicitly welcomes the city's vaccination offer.

Arndt Hilse calls it a “commendable effort” in the fight against the pandemic. Even though the information came at very short notice, the head of the Karl-Simrock-Hauptschule in Endenich was pleased that the jabs are now being offered at the vaccination centre to all school pupils. It remains to be seen how many will make use of it, he said. He has offered to print out the vaccination forms for all families at the school and to help fill them in. “We have many families who do not have their own printers,” he explained.

Second vaccination at the doctors

Parents will most likely have to organise the second vaccinations themselves at their doctors' surgeries. In discussions with the schools, city officials are said to have announced centralised offers for the second vaccination dose. However, this was not mentioned in the press office’s official announcement on Thursday. Vaccination campaigns at the schools themselves are clearly not planned either. According to the city, there are around 19,000 girls and boys studying at the 35 general education schools who could be vaccinated. The press office said that separate offers have been agreed with the vocational colleges (around 10,700) and special schools (500).

Meanwhile, at the Münsterplatz on Thursday, mayor Katja Dörner presented the city's vaccination bus, which is being used for mobile campaigns. “I am gladdened when I see the long queue in front of the bus,” she notes. “Vaccinations are the most effective means of fighting the disease and thus the pandemic,” Dörner appeals. “Those who take the vaccination protect not only themselves, but also other people and therefore the community.”

Susanne Engels, head of the public health department, explains that the bus, which has an eye-catching design, is expected to have a “promotional effect for vaccination when it is out and about in the city”. The Stadtwerke converted the bus and equipped it with two vaccination stations that can be used at the same time, as well as an area for storing the vaccines. Both first and second vaccinations are offered on the bus to people from the age of 16. Vaccination passes and identity cards should be brought along. However, people without these papers can also receive the jab. The bus will be at the Münsterplatz again this Friday from 12 to 6pm, and also at the flea market in the Rheinaue park on Saturday from 10am to 3pm.

(Original text: Andreas Baumann, Lisa Inhoffen, Richard Bongartz and Jakub Drogowski, Translation: Caroline Kusch)