Old and ill people are top priority to receive the COVID-19 vaccine | Photo: picture-alliance/N. Armer
Old and ill people are top priority to receive the COVID-19 vaccine | Photo: picture-alliance/N. Armer

Germany has begun vaccinating against COVID-19. Asylum seekers living in accommodation centers will be in the second group to receive the vaccine.

More than 8 million people are set to receive the vaccine in Germany’s first phase of immunisations, expected to take one to two months. After that, asylum seekers living in accommodation units such as anchor centers will be in the second group to be vaccinated.

Here’s what you need to know about the vaccination program in Germany:

How do I find out when I will receive a vaccination?

You will be informed by the state authorities when you are entitled to receive the vaccine. There is an appointment system in place to ensure that long queues do not form in front of vaccination centers. Those who have been informed that they are due for vaccination can call the appointment service on the nationwide telephone number 116 117.

How does the vaccination happen?

Unless you are in a facility such as an elderly care home, you must present at a vaccination center (once you have been notified that you are due for your immunization).

At this point, you will have to provide proof of identity. You will then be given information about the vaccination, highlighting risks and side effects as well as a questionnaire about your health. The vaccination will be administered in single booths by professional staff.

Do I have to pay to be vaccinated?

No, you do not have to pay – the vaccination is free. The costs are covered by the applicable state governments and health insurance funds, and no distinction will be made between public and private health insurance.

How often do I need to be vaccinated?

The Biontech/Pfizer-vaccine is given in two doses three weeks apart. This should guarantee that it is effective for the time being.

Will the vaccination be recorded?

Yes, but this will be anonymous. Data will be recorded to determine how many people have been vaccinated in what age groups and where they have received the vaccination. This will be done with an electronic registration system.

Who is being vaccinated first?

The first to be vaccinated are people aged 80 and above as well as all those receiving treatment or long-term care in hospitals and care facilities, as well as their carers. The first group also includes those working in intensive care and emergency, and emergency services, such as ambulance workers.

Who is second-in-line?

Asylum seekers and staff of asylum seeker facilities, as well as homeless shelters, are in category two. The second group also includes people from the age of 70 and those with a very high or high risk from COVID-19. 

People living with dementia, Trisomy 21 (so-called "Down Syndrome"), and transplant patients are also in this group. People in close contact with these individuals are also entitled to be vaccinated at this stage.

Who is in group three?

The third group covers people 60 and above, significantly overweight people, those with chronic kidney and liver disease, people with immune deficiency or living with HIV, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. People with cancer, asthma, autoimmune or rheumatic diseases are also covered.

The third group also includes civil servants, the armed forces, police, customs, firefighters, civil protection and the judiciary, as well as food retailers. People who have been working in places that have been badly affected by coronavirus, such as meat processing plants, are also in the group.

Who won’t get vaccinated?

The Biontech-Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have only been approved for people aged 16 and over, so children will not get the vaccine. Other people with existing health conditions or who are pregnant should discuss with their physician whether there are reasons not to vaccinate.

Is it compulsory?

No, no one in Germany is forced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but they are being urged to do so, to protect public health.

Is the vaccine halal?

This question will be answered by religious scholars. Spokespersons for the three major manufacturers of vaccines, Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca, have said that their vaccines do not contain any pork-related products.

What if I have already had COVID-19?

People who have had an infection with the virus should still get vaccinated. It is not clear whether surviving an infection provides adequate protection against reinfection.

However, you should not be vaccinated while you are ill with COVID-19, a flu or a common cold. In this case, you should wait until you have recovered. The same applies to people in quarantine because they have been in close contact with someone infected with the virus.

Can I go back to ‘normal’ after I have been vaccinated?

The health minister, Jens Spahn, has appealed to people to continue to observe coronavirus restrictions, such as wearing a mask, social distancing and hand-washing, until everyone has been vaccinated.

Germany’s confirmed death toll from the coronavirus pandemic on Monday topped 30,000 people.

with AFP


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