Pilot project also in Bonn Pharmacists to be allowed to give flu vaccinations

Bonn · This year, more and more companies are offering flu vaccinations to their employees. Demand for flu shots is high. A pilot project is in the works to enable pharmacists to administer flu shots in the future.

 Flu shots are in demand this year.

Flu shots are in demand this year.

Foto: dpa/Fredrik von Erichsen

In the coming weeks, the flu season will arrive, overlapping with the coronavirus pandemic. That's why the German Federal Ministry of Health has added six million flu vaccine doses to make a total supply of 26 million doses. At the same time, there is a pilot project which allows flu shots to be given in pharmacies. In Bonn, there are some pharmacies participating in this project.

The aim of the pilot project is to make it possible for people to receive a flu shot in pharmacies in the future. Initially, it will only be offered to members of the AOK public health insurance scheme. The Knauber pharmacy on Endenicher Strasse is one of the pharmacies taking part in the pilot project. "We are already being bombarded with calls," says owner Damorena Grigore. Unfortunately, the vaccination cannot yet be offered. "We wanted to order vaccine doses. Unfortunately none are available at the moment", says Grigore. When the project starts, organizers want to see how well the offer is accepted and whether the pharmacies can handle it. "In France and Switzerland, for example, this already exists," says Grigore. One of the aims of the program is to give people who belong to a high risk group more chances to be vaccinated.

A pharmacist must complete several training sessions before they are allowed to give a flu shot. "For the practical part, we have been trained by a doctor," says Grigore, who has completed the training. Two of her employees will soon complete it as well.

Around 30 pharmacies from the Bonn/Rhine-Sieg region are taking part in the model project, according to Thomas Preis, Chairman of the North Rhine Pharmacists' Association. The aim is to be able to offer all citizens the flu vaccination as a standard service in the pharmacy as quickly as possible. Currently, however, the project is only running with the AOK Rhineland/Hamburg. "Afterwards, will we discuss with politicians and the medical profession whether pharmacies should offer other types of vaccinations as well," Preis reports.

Inventory not sufficient for everyone to get a flu shot

At the moment, there is a run on flu vaccinations at doctors’ offices, reports Axel Gerschlauer to GA. He is a representative for the Professional Association of Pediatricians (BVKJ) for Bonn and the Rhine-Sieg district. But the answer as to whether or not one should get a flu vaccination is complex. Basically, everyone who is recommended to get a flu shot by the Vaccination Board (Stiko) should do so. "Among others, this includes all people over 60, people who work in the medical field or interact a lot with the public at work," says Gerschauer. "It is especially important for all of them to get vaccinated.”

University Hospital observes large demand

An "enormously high" demand for the flu vaccination was also observed by the University Hospital Bonn (UKB). "As a result, we had to set up a further registration at short notice together with an additional vaccination room", said Tanja Menting, the chief physician for UKB employees. "Some of the employees are queuing up at our front door, not least because of the social distancing rules to be observed due to the corona pandemic.” The company physician also reports that there are many vaccinations offered on-site. "The demand is higher than ever before."

All available means are being used to "motivate employees for the flu vaccination". In this year the UKB set itself the goal to almost double the vaccinations from 2,500 to 5,000 persons.

On Facebook, a large proportion of readers responded to GA, saying they had already been vaccinated or were still planning to get a flu shot. Several said that they worked in the medical field, were in a high risk group or are out in the public every day, such as those who use public transport. But some also said they did not want to get a flu shot. One reason given was that the person became ill after a vaccination and because of that, did not want to be vaccinated again.

(Orig. text: Thomas Leurs; Translation: ck)

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