Many company doctors are preparing for the boost
Status: 19.11.2021 3:55 p.m.
According to the STIKO recommendation for vaccination boosters for everyone over the age of 18, a rush to doctor’s offices is expected. The company doctors also come back into play. Many companies are ramping up their capacity again.
By Tim Diekmann, SWR Stuttgart
Anyone trying to get a vaccination appointment these days will quickly find that – depending on the region – it is anything but easy. Because while at the peak of the vaccination campaign in summer vaccination centers, house and company doctors had offered immunization with the corona vaccine at the same time, it is now mainly medical practices and companies that continue to vaccinate with reduced capacity.
Companies are ramping up vaccination capacities
One of these companies is the fan manufacturer ebm-papst in Mulfingen near Heilbronn. Because the demand for first and third vaccinations in the company has been increasing rapidly for several weeks, conference rooms are being cleared again these days and converted into the in-house vaccination center. It was closed weeks ago and vaccinations were recently only offered in small numbers in the company’s first-aid rooms.
However, the increasing restrictions for unvaccinated people and the booster vaccinations that are starting at the same time are changing the situation: “We are currently facing major challenges,” reports Hauke Hannig from ebm-papst when asked by tagesschau.de. In the company, you can feel the increasing demand for first-time vaccinations, but above all for booster vaccinations, also because vaccination centers in the region have long been closed.
The technology group Bosch and the car manufacturer Daimler from Stuttgart also want to offer more company vaccinations again soon. While Daimler intends to provide its employees with booster vaccinations from January, Bosch already started booster vaccinations in mid-October. According to its own information, the company has administered 60,000 vaccine doses nationwide since the start of the vaccination campaign in the summer.
Number of vaccinations in companies unclear
Companies have been able to offer their employees vaccinations since the beginning of June, as a so-called third pillar of the vaccination campaign after vaccination centers and medical practices. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), around 115 million vaccine doses had been administered nationwide by November 17 – the majority of them in vaccination centers (55 percent) and medical practices (43 percent). According to the RKI, only 2.5 million vaccine doses – and thus around two percent – were inoculated by company doctors. Because many company doctors, according to the Association of Company and Company Doctors (VDBW), also work as statutory health insurance physicians, vaccinations are often added up and booked differently. “The number of company doctor vaccinations will probably be significantly higher,” says the Baden-Württemberg VDBW state chairman Stephan Schlosser.
Demand for support from politics
The company doctors in the country could not complain about too little work, said Schlosser: “We have been working an incredible amount since the summer and now – with the number of infections increasing – we are increasingly called in to advice in addition to vaccinations. For example, when it comes to new ones company hygiene rules or when employees who have tested positive want to know how to proceed. ” The representative of the association criticizes politics: “We now have to cope with the ‘surprise’ that suddenly a booster vaccination is due six months after the second vaccination.” The high demand can only be met if politics and administration now give the companies maximum support, said Schlosser. It is primarily about “logistical and planning tasks”, such as the complicated registration of vaccinations with the authorities.
In Mulfingen at ebm-papst they hope to be able to vaccinate up to 200 employees a day against the coronavirus again soon. This is the only way to increase operational safety and find a way back to normal, said spokesman Hannig. But the path to normality seems a long way off: Recently, more employees than ever before had been infected with the corona virus. There were production stoppages. According to ebm-papst, the 3G regulation at the workplace that has now been adopted offers additional security, with which one can prevent further infections. You also have the opportunity to get clarity about the actual vaccination quota in the company. And that will certainly help with the planning for the second large vaccination campaign in the company from December.