Bonn The doctor administered one dose of the vaccine and in doing so bypassed the priority list. The Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians has excluded him from giving further vaccinations. The association’s legal department is investigating the case.
A doctor who was supposed to vaccinate the residents of the Emmaus care home in Bad Godesberg apparently smuggled an outsider into the building and gave them the vaccine. Following an anonymous tip-off to the General-Anzeiger, this was confirmed by Annette Zang, spokeswoman for the responsible body in Cologne, the Caritas-Betriebsführungs- und Trägergesellschaft mbH. “Our colleagues at the Emmaus residential home learned after the first vaccination appointment on 2 January that a person who did not belong to the residential home had received a vaccination from one of the mobile vaccinating doctors,” said Zang. The facility manager then informed the coordinating vaccinator. The doctor did not return to the home for the second vaccination appointment.
The whole thing came to light when the management compared the documentation for the vaccinated persons with the vaccination quantities supplied and discovered a discrepancy. According to the anonymous tip-off, further vaccination ampoules for ten vaccinations had disappeared. That is not true, assured Zang. All residents of the old people’s home who wanted the vaccination (96 per cent) had now received their two doses. Surplus vaccination doses had been given to tenants aged over 80 from the affiliated “Living with Service” section, as well as to employees from the fire brigade, she said.
The North Rhine Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KVNO) is responsible for organising vaccinations in nursing homes. Spokesman Christopher Schneider confirmed that the KVNO was aware of the unauthorised vaccination. “Yes, the case came to the attention of our head vaccinator on site immediately after the vaccination programme, and our local district office was also informed. And as a further step in the process, the legal department of the KVNO headquarters in Düsseldorf too.” Schneider did not name the doctor due to data protection.
Doctor excluded from further vaccinating
According to current information, the vaccinating doctor had “also vaccinated an external person with an additional vaccination dose in the course of the smoothly running vaccination programme at the home”. This had come to the attention of the staff at the home. Since it was a “surplus” dose, the residents “were not harmed - they were all vaccinated as planned”. The descriptions provided by the home and the KVNO are thus contradictory in detail. An extra dose could not have been noticed when comparing the documentation and the vaccination quantities.
Schneider explained that the doctor in question was no longer involved in administering home vaccinations. “The doctor has been legally instructed by us and has not been involved in the vaccination process since then.” The KVNO’s legal department is clarifying whether further legal consequences will follow. The spokesperson did not confirm whether there had been similar cases in Bonn, the Rhine-Sieg district or the catchment area of the KVNO. “We cannot verify this ad hoc for the entire Rhineland,” he said. In principle, the procedure for dealing with leftover vaccines on site is “very clearly regulated” by the NRW Ministry of Health and the applicable federal Coronavirus Vaccination Ordinance. First, members of the mobile vaccination team would be supplied. After that, people in priority group 1 were to be vaccinated, such as staff in intensive care units or casualty departments. The ministry’s guidelines stipulate that any remaining vaccines must be injected on site, as they cannot be transported once they have been delivered to the home, thawed and prepared for administering.
City spokesperson Monika Hörig stated that the city has no knowledge of the incident. The health department refers detailed questions to the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, which is responsible for providing the vaccinating doctors. The health department was also clear on the sanctions to be expected by doctors if they privilege unauthorised persons to vaccinate: “Immediate termination of the employment relationship, as far as is known here.”
(Original text: Philipp Königs, Translation: Caroline Kusch)