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HANNOVER (dpa-AFX) – Large parts of the German economy are convinced that they will be able to accelerate the vaccination campaign against the coronavirus. In the past few days, numerous companies have signaled their willingness to have their employees injected by company doctors. However, the vaccine is not yet sufficient for this. So far, no more than pilot projects are in sight – and patience is required in the corporate vaccination centers.
At the automotive supplier Continental alone, more than 1000 employees in the factory medical services in Germany could be vaccinated every day, as the Dax (DAX 30) group from Hanover announced on request. “Our company doctors are ready,” said personnel spokeswoman Nicole Gttlicher of the German press agency. “Concrete information from the responsible authorities as to when we can take action here is not yet available.”
For faster progress, after the regional vaccination centers, doctors’ practices are now also being supplied with vaccines. Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn recently referred several times to the few available vaccines in response to the demand that vaccinations should also be promoted quickly in companies. “It is still too close,” he said at the end of March. The company doctors should join the vaccination campaign after general practitioners.
This week, Berlin’s Governing Mayor Michael Mller took up the demand and suggested consultations between the federal government and the states. “We have to talk about how we can integrate family and company doctors even better in order to become faster.” With regard to the ranking, Spahn had said that he found it difficult to vaccinate younger company employees as long as the older ones were not protected.
Nevertheless, in some corporations it is assumed that the time will come soon. “We want to start vaccinating as soon as company and company doctors are involved in the vaccination campaign,” says Markus Siebenmorgen from the Bayer pharmaceutical company in Leverkusen. “According to the latest vaccination ordinance, we expect this to be the case shortly.” The interest of the employees is high and the company would like to extend the vaccinations to external companies at the respective locations as well as to family members.
Such offers from the economy are increasing. For example, the insurance group Allianz has prepared 27 vaccination streets at the 15 largest locations according to company instructions. “We are ready to go, but the vaccines are still missing,” said a spokesman. The board of directors is also considering offering family members vaccinations. At Deutsche Telekom, they say: “We are assuming that we can vaccinate around 80 percent of our approximately 100,000 employees in Germany within eight weeks.”
The steel and industrial group thyssenkrupp also confirms its interest in vaccinating employees by company doctors. But they do not want “to enter a competition to vaccinate their workforce faster than other people”. In the USA and India, however, the company has already successfully participated in vaccination campaigns, says a spokeswoman.
According to a spokesman, the steel manufacturer Salzgitter expects that the vaccine required for its own vaccinations will probably be available by the end of the second quarter. The Lower Saxony group also expects that the prioritization of certain groups that is currently still in force will no longer apply as soon as enough vaccine is available. The new Minister of Health of Lower Saxony, Daniela Behrens, even assumes that the first company medical services could start vaccinating in companies as early as May.
Vaccinations in companies are still limited to pilot projects such as those at BASF or Volkswagen (Volkswagen (VW) vz). As part of a model project in Rhineland-Palatinate, the chemical company in Ludwigshafen started a few days ago with around 400 vaccinations, with a current maximum daily capacity of 600. Volkswagen had already started a model project in Saxony on March 30, and the first employees in the Zwickau plant with the AstraZeneca -Vaccine vaccinated. After the quarrels about the drug, the car manufacturer suspended the vaccinations again and has been injecting Biontech’s vaccine (BioNTech (ADRs)) for a few days.
Most recently, the Bavarian government announced that it would soon provide company doctors with up to 50,000 vaccine doses against the coronavirus. “As soon as all the preparations have been completed, we want to start with the first model projects in April if possible,” said Health Minister Klaus Holetschek on Thursday. Initially, small and medium-sized companies as well as smaller locations of large companies in the high incidence regions were selected./bch/DP/zb