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Problems with corona vaccine rollout: People with health vulnerabilities in Bonn wait in vain for vaccine appointment

Problems with corona vaccine rollout : People with health vulnerabilities in Bonn wait in vain for vaccine appointment

The city of Bonn considers itself to be on schedule with Covid-19 vaccinations. But apparently elderly people with pre-existing conditions and those who are seriously ill, fall through the cracks. Some of those who have been affected describe their odyssey through the bureaucracy.

Oligarchs, royals and people with good relations to the royal families in the Persian Gulf are increasingly being drawn to Dubai and Abu Dhabi for “vaccination tourism”. But we don’t have much royalty in Bonn so the focus of many residents here remains on the vaccination center in the World Conference Center Bonn (WCCB). Depending on personal experience, this arouses more -or less enthusiasm. While many people who have been vaccinated express their praise for the system in letters to the editor, there is growing resentment among those who have been left behind.

Ingo Lier, for example. The 47-year-old from Bonn, who does not want to read his real name in the newspaper, is a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy and is desperately trying to get an early vaccine appointment on the basis of a decree in effect since February 25, as he tells the General-Anzeiger. He sent out e-mails to various authorities, asking where he could get a vaccine appointment, but received no responses. He called the Corona Hotline, where they were friendly but unable to help him. "I could live with a definitive response that I am not eligible," he says. But instead, he says the city referred him to the state and vice versa. Lost in the jungle of bureaucracy, the 47-year-old soon faces high-dose chemotherapy, which makes him highly susceptible to infections. "Should I stand outside the door of the WCCB in the evening and ask if any vaccine is left over from the day?" he asks, perplexed.

Getting to the vaccination center is a problem for some

Another GA reader criticizes the lack of assistance for the very old. She says that her friend, who will turn 100 this month had to call the telephone hotline herself until, after numerous unsuccessful attempts, she was called for an appointment at the end of March. She had to figure out herself how she would get to the WCCB. Her acquaintance believes this is not the kind of service that residents deserve. In this case, however, the city administration refers people to the Corona Hotline 0228/7175 and the e-mail address fragen.impfen@bonn.de. There, one can arrange a driving service with the health department.

Annette Gorzel also wonders how nationwide immunity is suppose to work. Like Ingo Lier, she welcomes the fact that teachers, police officers and firefighters are to receive the Covid-19 vaccine earlier. But the 77-year-old Bad Godesberg resident does not understand why the large number of people in the age group of 65 to 80-years-old have not yet been contact when it’s said that the 80 and over group has been inoculated and the country has taken in a big supply of vaccines. In view of her personal experience, it is a mystery to her how those with pre-existing conditions are to be singled out and given priority for vaccination.

That's because, despite a medical certificate attesting to her eligibility for prioritized vaccination, she describes the efforts she has made (to get a vaccine): "The WCCB says to go through the public health department, the public health department says to go to the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, which in turn says to go to the public health department, which also kindly gave me the telephone number of the citizens' hotline of the state government in Düsseldorf. Everywhere they are friendly and regret they cannot help - and remind that everyone has to wait their turn. It's a mess," says Annette Gorzel. She is now pinning her hopes on a vaccination from her family doctor. But she was told by the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians that this would not be coming until May at the earliest.

The Bad Godesberg resident is one of around 20,000 Bonn residents over the age of 70 who belong to the second priority group. The fact that this group - unlike the over-80’s - has not yet been contacted has been confirmed by the city administration in response to an inquiry. The reason is that they have not yet received an order from the Ministry of Health, which is to regulate a uniform approach and allocate vaccine for this purpose. The question about whether the city has the possibility to identify persons with pre-existing conditions is evaded by the city administration, which refers people to the state government: The Ministry of Health is still working on a system for the vaccination of this group of persons, says a spokeswoman in response to questioning. Apparently, the administration is setting its sights on the end of March when family physicians should be able to give vaccines. Family doctors already have a direct relationship to those with pre-existing conditions. The city administration also believes that the scheduling of the large group of over 70-year-olds will begin "in the course of April". As before, the procedure will be controlled by the Kassenärztliche Vereinigung Nordrhein (termin.corona-impfung.nrw).

Asked about the cooperation between the state government and the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, the city says that the various partners are working "together according to their own possibilities to cope with the pandemic.” Some residents believe this could be working better. Other than that, the city shares the wish of the German Association of Cities that the federal and state governments only promise what the cities can deliver. A spokeswoman: "The health departments can only implement government policy when the state has created the legal basis for this through ordinances and decrees. This can sometimes take a few days. This can often lead to disappointments.” (Orig. text: Rüdiger Franz / Translation: ck)