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Company doctors allowed to vaccinate from June: Companies from the region fight over scarce vaccine

Company doctors allowed to vaccinate from June : Companies from the region fight over scarce vaccine

From 7 June at the latest, employees are to be able to get vaccinated through the company they work for, with 10,000 company doctors on standby. Initially, there will be 500,000 doses per week. Family businesses, however, warn to not only think of the big companies.

It is supposed to start in five weeks. From 7 June at the latest, employees are to be able to get vaccinated through the company; 10,000 company doctors are on standby. Initially, there will be 500,000 doses per week. The first big question is where they will come from. "The current plan is that the companies will be supplied directly with vaccines by large pharmacies, details are still being clarified at the federal and state levels," said a spokesperson for the North Rhine Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians.

The second question is how the scarce material will be distributed fairly. Chancellor Angela Merkel has already called for a fair distribution despite the different industrial densities in the republic. Family businesses warn politicians not to think only of corporations. "Many family businesses are in the starting blocks and are ready to have their employees vaccinated via the company doctors. It is important that all sizes of business are supplied with sufficient vaccine at the same time," said association president Reinhold von Eben-Worlée. This will give momentum to the vaccination campaign. "And we urgently need that to finally drive the recovery again via openings."

The third question is what will become of prioritisation. Health ministers want to lift it in June, which could be the end of June. Companies are willing to prioritise among the workforce on their own responsibility. But they would rather see the prioritisation fall.

And this is how this looks in NRW:

Chemical companies: Henkel has set up a vaccination centre near its plant in Düsseldorf. Bayer, Covestro, Lanxess and Ineos are relying on Chempark operator Currenta in Leverkusen, Dormagen and Uerdingen. "We are preparing to vaccinate up to 40,000 employees in a combined eight vaccination lines within three weeks. We could start from the beginning of June," explained Chempark manager Lars Friedrich. "The only thing that remains open is when we will receive vaccine. The big effort is only worthwhile if we have enough vaccine for the 40,000 Chempark employees." Bayer also wants to offer vaccinations at all other sites: "We expect to vaccinate all employees who want it once within two to three weeks.“

Telekom and Vodafone: Deutsche Telekom wants to vaccinate at 18 locations nationwide, including Bonn, Düsseldorf and Cologne. It expects to vaccinate around 80 per cent of its 100,000 employees in Germany within eight weeks, a spokesperson said.

Post: "As soon as vaccine is available for company doctors, we will be able to offer our employees Corona vaccinations on a voluntary basis through our company medical service - also at our own expense," said a spokeswoman for Deutsche Post DHL Group, which maintains, among other things, a large mail and parcel centre in Troisdorf and a logistics centre for air freight at Cologne/Bonn Airport. Her company doctors were well prepared, she said, so that the Bonn-based group could start at any time with a lead time of less than a week. It would also offer vaccination to all 570,000 employees worldwide, it said, "and at its own expense if necessary“.

Already, the Post sends employees who are considered particularly important to the vaccination centre in Cologne. There, as in Düsseldorf, there are reserve lists: if vaccine is left over, it can go to employees of critical infrastructure companies.

Trade: Employees in the food trade, such as Metro, Rewe, Edeka and Aldi, belong to Priority Group 3. Metro says it is trying to get vaccine from the government agencies, but none has arrived yet. Aldi, too, has no information to give to employees.

(Original text: Antje Höning, Reinhard Kowalewsky, Georg Winters and Dylan Cem Akalin; Translation: Mareike Graepel)