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Pandemic handling in comparison: Why is NRW so far behind in vaccination?

Pandemic handling in comparison : Why is NRW so far behind in vaccination?

With its rates for first and second vaccinations, North Rhine-Westphalia ranks at the bottom of a nationwide comparison. But what is the reason for this? The Ministry of Health and the panel doctors are trying to find an explanation.

With its rates for first and second vaccinations, North Rhine-Westphalia ranks at the bottom of a nationwide comparison table. But what is the reason for this? The Ministry of Health and the panel doctors are trying to find an explanation.

Rapid vaccination offers a way out of the pandemic. And the business community never tires of calling for more efforts in procurement and vaccination. But North Rhine-Westphalia, of all places, is lagging far behind, as figures from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) show. According to these figures, only 1.6 million citizens have received a first dose, which is 8.7 percent of the population. This puts NRW in third last place. Only Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Saxony are worse off. By comparison, Bavaria has 9.7 percent and Saarland 11.1 percent. The national average is 9.3 per cent.

NRW also lags behind in second vaccinations

Although NRW had its vaccination centres set up under high pressure before Christmas, it has been lagging behind since the beginning of the campaign. Health Minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) again points to delays in reporting. "We continue to register massive deficits in the transmission of data to the RKI, which primarily affect the North Rhine region, so that the RKI data does not provide a valid picture of the real vaccination situation in NRW," explained Laumann's spokesperson. The associations of SHI-accredited physicians (KV) would work through the old cases in the system, with a high level of personnel. In North Rhine, for example, Excel tables were initially kept manually and laboriously.

The KV Nordrhein (KV) emphasises: "One reason for the placement of NRW may be that in this country, from the beginning, the second vaccination dose was consistently stored and put aside, so that the quantity delivered from the federal government to the state of NRW does not correspond to the quantity delivered to the municipalities." This principle has still not been completely abandoned by the state policy. The ministry emphasises that no doses are kept in stockpiles for no reason: "The vaccine doses in stock are vaccine doses that have to be available for appointments that have already been made for second vaccinations.“

However, NRW is also lagging behind in second vaccinations: only 688,000 NRW citizens have so far received two doses and thus the full vaccination protection. That is just 3.8 percent of the population. This means that NRW is also at the bottom of the league when it comes to second vaccinations. For comparison: Bavaria has 4.6 and Thuringia 4.9 percent. The national average is 4.1 percent.

GPs in the Rhineland cannot start vaccinations on 29 March as planned

The main reason for the slow German vaccination campaign remains the lack of vaccine. After the British manufacturer Astrazeneca cut its deliveries again, GPs in the Rhineland can no longer start with the first vaccinations on 29 March as planned. The start is now no longer scheduled for this Monday, but for 6 April, the KV North Rhine informed its SHI-accredited doctors in a letter. The Ministry of Health had informed the KV about the corresponding supply restrictions. This week, NRW will receive only 43,200 doses instead of the planned 144,000, as reported by the ministry. In the practices of general practitioners and gynaecologists, mainly people under 70 years of age with previous illnesses and persons accompanying pregnant women are to be vaccinated.

The city of Bonn has already reduced the number of vaccination appointments, for example for teachers and educators. According to the city, 1,600 appointments still available at the Bonn vaccination centre have been cancelled. However, there have been no cancellations of already booked appointments.

Currently, there are 343,000 doses of vaccine from Biontech/Pfizer, 150,000 from Moderna and 132,000 from Astrazeneca in the NRW distribution centre. "With regard to Astrazeneca and Moderna, it can currently be assumed that the warehouse will be empty by the end of the week," said Laumann's spokesperson.

Original text: Antje Höning

Translation: Mareike Graepel