Bonn · From 15th December around 1000 people could be vaccinated per day at the World Conference Centre in Bonn. In addition, mobile teams will administer the vaccine in facilities such as nursing homes. At Thursday’s press conference Mayor Katja Dörner also commented about the New Year's Eve fireworks.
The municipal authorities in Bonn are preparing a vaccination centre at the WCCB congress centre. It should be ready to provide 1000 vaccinations per day on site from 15th December. It is not yet certain whether a vaccine will be available from that date, said fire chief Jochen Stein at a press conference on Thursday morning.
Mobile teams will also be set up to administer the vaccine in a decentralised manner. As reported, it is planned to start by targeting high-risk groups such as the seriously ill and the elderly, as well as hospital staff such as nurses and doctors, who could receive their vaccinations in hospitals or nursing homes. Then it would be the turn of staff working in the so-called critical infrastructure. These would include, for example, fire and rescue services, as well as doctors in private practices or employees providing electricity, gas and water supplies. Stein expects detailed guidelines from the Standing Committee on Vaccination (Ständigen Impfkommission, Stiko) in the coming weeks.
Mayor Katja Dörner explained that the congress centre is suitable as a vaccination centre because it has good transport connections and is easily accessible by public transport. "The situation remains tense", she said. The incidence value in Bonn is currently 136.06. This means that 136 citizens per 100,000 inhabitants have been infected with coronavirus in the past seven days, and she spoke of a total of 449 new infections last week.
According to Stein, it is conceivable that those living in the Rhein-Sieg District on the left bank of the Rhine could also be given the vaccine at the congress centre. However, the federal government is ultimately responsible for organising who gets an appointment at what time. For this purpose, he announced the purchase of special software. The city wants to set up five vaccination lines in the congress centre to ensure that the many vaccinations are administered. Resident doctors will be involved. Initial talks have already been held with the North-Rhine Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (Kassenärztlichen Vereinigung Nordrhein, KVN). Christopher Schneider from the KVN told the GA: "It is clear that in the first phase of the SARSCoV-2 vaccination, office-based doctors and medical assistants are also needed to staff the vaccination centres and for the mobile vaccination teams. We are currently surveying our almost 20,000 members in North Rhine-Westphalia to determine which resources are available to implement centralised vaccination campaigns.”
Stein went on to say that at this stage, it looks as if the first vaccine available will be the BNT162b2 - a somewhat unmanageable name - developed by the German company Biontech, together with the US pharmaceutical company Pfizer. Special refrigerators which can cool down to minus 70 degrees are needed to store this product, but these are currently difficult to obtain. However, Stein assumes that BNT162b2 will be prepared in Bonn’s hospital pharmacies. This would eliminate the need for special refrigerators at the congress centre, however a disadvantage would be that the vaccine would have to be used up quickly after production.
There would still be some flexibility in the timing of administering the first vaccination. The second vaccination, however, would have to be given 21 days later and therefore places a limit on the time available. Stein has not yet been able to say how people will know when it is their turn to be vaccinated: "There are still a number of outstanding issues that will influence our planning process.”
The drive-in test centre in Petra-Kelly-Allee will close on 31st December, according to Dörner, but could be reactivated at any time. She explained that the centre will no longer be needed because the doctors' surgeries will carry out more tests. The diagnostic centre in Bad Godesberg will continue to carry out swab tests for potentially infected persons.
City to ban fireworks on several squares
In view of the government’s announcement to extend the lockdown light, Mayor Dörner spoke of restrictions that were to be expected. Nevertheless, she said she was aware that these restrictions would be very demanding for the people of Bonn. The city would not impose a general ban on fireworks on New Year's Eve. "It is not a question of prohibiting the fun of this custom," said Dörner. But she appealed to citizens to show consideration. The emergency services and hospitals are so important in the current strained situation that injuries caused by fireworks would bring a considerable additional burden, she said. The city is planning to ban New Year's Eve fireworks on some squares. More information will be available in the coming weeks.
Dörner also commented on the government’s suggestion to hold company holidays between Christmas and New Year for the municipal administration department. In agreement with the staff council, the administration department will be closed from Wednesday 23rd December to Friday 1st January 2021. "The Public Health Office will of course continue its work as before," said the Mayor. Information on emergency services is still to be provided.
(Original text: Philipp Königs, Translation: Caroline Kusch)