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VACCINATION

‘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.

Vocabulary

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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COVID-19

Court turns down AfD-led challenge to Germany’s spending in pandemic

The German Constitutional Court rejected challenges Tuesday to Berlin's participation in the European Union's coronavirus recovery fund, but expressed some reservations about the massive package.

Court turns down AfD-led challenge to Germany's spending in pandemic

Germany last year ratified the €750-billion ($790-billion) fund, which offers loans and grants to EU countries hit hardest by the pandemic.

The court in Karlsruhe ruled on two challenges, one submitted by a former founder of the far-right AfD party, and the other by a businessman.

They argued the fund could ultimately lead to Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, having to take on the debts of other EU member states on a permanent basis.

But the Constitutional Court judges ruled the EU measure does not violate Germany’s Basic Law, which forbids the government from sharing other countries’ debts.

READ ALSO: Germany plans return to debt-limit rules in 2023

The judgement noted the government had stressed that the plan was “intended to be a one-time instrument in reaction to an unprecedented crisis”.

It also noted that the German parliament retains “sufficient influence in the decision-making process as to how the funds provided will be used”.

The judges, who ruled six to one against the challenges, did however express some reservations.

They questioned whether paying out such a large amount over the planned period – until 2026 – could really be considered “an exceptional measure” to fight the pandemic.

At least 37 percent of the funds are aimed at achieving climate targets, the judges said, noting it was hard to see a link between combating global warming and the pandemic.

READ ALSO: Germany to fast-track disputed €200 billion energy fund

They also warned against any permanent mechanism that could lead to EU members taking on joint liability over the long term.

Berenberg Bank economist Holger Schmieding said the ruling had “raised serious doubts whether the joint issuance to finance the fund is in line with” EU treaties.

“The German court — once again — emphasised German limits for EU fiscal integration,” he said.

The court had already thrown out a legal challenge, in April 2021, that had initially stopped Berlin from ratifying the financial package.

Along with French President Emmanuel Macron, then chancellor Angela Merkel sketched out the fund in 2020, which eventually was agreed by the EU’s 27 members in December.

The first funds were disbursed in summer 2021, with the most given to Italy and Spain, both hit hard by the pandemic.

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