‘Mood is getting more aggressive’: Thousands of people in Germany caught skipping line for Covid vaccine

Thousands of people across Germany are giving false information or being aggressive towards medical staff in a bid to get a Covid-19 jab before they're eligible, German media reports.

'Mood is getting more aggressive': Thousands of people in Germany caught skipping line for Covid vaccine
Vaccination centre staff in Stuttgart on May 3rd. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd Weissbrod

There are fresh calls for penalties for those who try to dupe vaccination centre staff or GPs.

“Thousands are caught, but there are no sanctions,” said the board of the German Foundation for Patient Protection, Eugen Brysch, reported Spiegel on Tuesday. 

Pushing to the front of a line for a Covid vaccine when you’re ineligible is not classed as an offence by authorities. But, according to German media reports, many vaccination centres are concerned about the aggressiveness of those who want a jab – and their increasing attempts to obtain it.

READ ALSO: How people across Germany have skipped Covid-19 vaccine queues

Regional broadcaster SWR’s show Report Mainz said they had uncovered several thousand cases in Germany per week.

The Hamburg vaccination centre alone reported that 2,000 people tried to skip the queue in one week. In order to get a vaccination appointment early, people have been giving a false age or occupation, the centre said.

In Munich, up to 350 people are being caught trying to jump the queue every week, and in Saarbrücken up to 140 people are doing this.

The editors of the show asked vaccination centres in the state capitals for information, but not all of them are recording the numbers of people who have tried to jump the line.

“The mood is getting more aggressive. Some people know that they are not entitled, and yet they try to get vaccinated,” Martin Helfrich, spokesman for the Hamburg social authority, told the broadcaster.

According to the report, research shows that vaccine fraudsters often pretend to be high-priority contact persons for people in need of care or pregnant women.

A person in need of care or a pregnant woman can name two contact people who can be vaccinated as a priority.

The SWR team said they were aware of a case when eight young and healthy people – instead of two – managed to get vaccinated as contact persons.

Vaccines have become even more desirable after the German government said fully vaccinated people – and those who’ve recovered from Covid-19 – face fewer coronavirus restrictions. They no longer have to stick to, curfews, contact restrictions and most quarantine rules, for example.

READ ALSO: How do you prove you’ve been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19?

Priority order lifted for J&J and AstraZeneca

Germany follows a strict priority order on who gets the vaccine first, based mainly on age, health condition and occupation. This is set to be lifted some time in June and opened up to all adults. Currently states are vaccinating priority groups two and three, which includes the over 60s and key workers.

The requirements on who can get a vaccine first is based on the recommendations of standing vaccine committee STIKO.

State health ministers on Monday, however, lifted the vaccination prioritisation for Johnson & Johnson, opening it up to all adults. Last week the AstraZeneca vaccine was also opened up to all adults across Germany.  Previously only a handful of states had lifted the priority order for AstraZeneca.

READ ALSO: Germany makes J&J available to all adults: What you need to know

Both vaccines are associated with very rare serious side effects linked to blood clotting conditions. For this reason, Germany advises that they are given to people over the age of 60.

However, if someone under 60 wants one of these vaccines it is possible after a risk analysis and consultation with the doctor giving the vaccine.

‘Threatening behaviour’

With a view to the tide of people who want to get a jab, Brysch said: “Now vaccines are being released (to all adults). This creates massive pressure in the vaccination centres and among general practitioners.

“We hear about psychological and physical threatening gestures on the patient protection hotline.”

In February, the Patient Protection Foundation (die Stiftung Patientenschutz) demanded penalties for those who were caught skipping the line in Germany, but no action was taken.

But it is a tricky topic as doctors have been vaccinating people who are not on the priority list if they have leftover doses at the end of the day. This is to make sure fewer shots go to waste.

Overall, Germany has now administered more than 35 million vaccine doses against coronavirus. Around 27.3 million were first doses and about 7.8 million for second jabs (as of Monday May 10th).

A total of 32.8 percent of the population has received at least one shot. So far 9.4 percent of the population is fully inoculated.


Vaccination campaign – (die) Impfkampagne

Penalties/punishments – (die) Strafen

Aggressiveness – (die) Aggressivität

ineligible/not entitled – nicht berechtigt

Vaccination prioritisation – (die) Impfpriorisierung

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

Member comments

  1. People are Selfish – if they know they can try, and if they fail there is no penalty, they will do it.
    Another example of how badly the innoculation roll-out has been handled – every one of those “false” appointments is a slot that a person who is in the queue does not get, & so it delays the process further.
    I’m over 60 & in Dortmund they have not even started allowing appointments for the 60+ age group, yet they are talking about opening up the system to everyone “June latest”. That’s what you get in an Election Year.

  2. It sucks that some people are so self-centered like this, but at a rate of 2 million shots a week, 20k cheaters is 1%, meaning put in perspective this is tremendously good!
    I would much rather allow some jerks to cut the line and keep the speed fast than cause delays and slow the process to check and verify every single person (who by the way will need a shot eventually anyways). Speed is the only way to win… and if cheating is less than 1%, this is a nothingburger.

    1. I agree. There seems to be way too much complaining, besides none of us are really safe until all of us (meaning the world) are inoculated.

  3. I hate queue jumpers; especially when they are aggressive, unintelligent in their approach and undeserving before others who have adhered to all the rules.

    At the same time?
    Let’s just vaccinate everyone!
    The more people vaccinated? The more chance we have of working again and getting on with life (and being able to pay taxes that benefit so many).

  4. One may not agree with the system of priority groups but once set they should be followed. At the moment it seems as if ‘people in the know’ or those prepared to lie can jump the supposed queue. Ultimately this undermines the whole system and discredits the rules as spouted by STIKO, RKI and the politicians. Remove peoples’ beliefs in a fair system and anarchy and chaos follow, that is what we have now.

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Could there be a new wave of Covid-19 in Germany this autumn?

It’s back again: amid sinking temperatures, the incidence of Covid-19 has been slowly rising in Germany. But is this enough to merit worrying about the virus?

Could there be a new wave of Covid-19 in Germany this autumn?

More people donning face masks in supermarkets, friends cancelling plans last minute due to getting sick with Covid-19. We might have seen some of those familiar reminders recently that the coronavirus is still around, but could there really be a resurgence of the virus like we experienced during the pandemic years?

According to virologists, the answer seems to be ‘maybe’: since July, the number of people newly infected with Covid-19 has been slowly rising from a very low level.

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), nine people per 100,000 inhabitants became newly infected in Germany last week. A year ago, there were only around 270 reported cases.

Various Corona variants are currently on the loose in the country. According to the RKI,  the EG.5 (also called Eris) and XBB.1.16 lines were each detected in the week ending September 3rd with a share of just under 23 percent. 

The highly mutated variant BA.2.86 (Pirola), which is currently under observation by the World Health Organisation (WHO), also arrived in the country this week, according to RKI. 

High number of unreported case

The RKI epidemiologists also warned about a high number of unreported cases since hardly any testing is done. They pointed out that almost half of all registered sewage treatment plants report an increasing viral load in wastewater tests.

The number of hospital admissions has also increased slightly, but are still a far cry from the occupation rate amid the pandemic. Last week it was two per 100,000 inhabitants. In the intensive care units, only 1.2 percent of all beds are occupied by Covid-19 patients.

Still, a good three-quarters (76.4 percent) of people in Germany have been vaccinated at least twice and thus have basic immunity, reported RKI. 

Since Monday, doctors’ offices have been vaccinating with the adapted vaccine from Biontech/Pfizer, available to anyone over 12 years old, with a vaccine for small children set to be released the following week and one for those between 5 and 11 to come out October 2nd.

But Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has so far only recommended that people over 60 and those with pre-existing conditions get vaccinated.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Who should get a Covid jab this autumn in Germany?

“The pandemic is over, the virus remains,” he said. “We cannot predict the course of coming waves of corona, but it is clear that older people and people with pre-existing conditions remain at higher risk of becoming severely ill from Covid-19”

The RKI also recommended that people with a cold voluntarily wear a mask. Anyone exhibiting cough, cold, sore throat or other symptoms of a respiratory illness should voluntarily stay at home for three to five days and take regular corona self-tests. 

However, further measures such as contact restrictions are not necessary, he said.

One of many diseases

As of this autumn, Covid-19 could be one of many respiratory diseases. As with influenza, there are no longer absolute infection figures for coronavirus.

Saarbrücken pharmacist Thorsten Lehr told German broadcaster ZDF that self-protection through vaccinations, wearing a mask and getting tested when symptoms appear are prerequisites for surviving the Covid autumn well. 

Only a new, more aggressive mutation could completely turn the game around, he added.

On April 7th of this year, Germany removed the last of its over two-year long coronavirus restrictions, including mask-wearing in some public places.

READ ALSO: German doctors recommend Covid-19 self-tests amid new variant