Germany has its next corona bug: The Biontech vaccine is to be rationed on the instructions of the Federal Minister of Health. Instead, the moderna vaccine should first be delivered to the population because its shelf life is nearing its end, and that – at least that is what statements about the contract details with the US company that have become known – may not be donated.
So now Germany is taking the domestic Biontech preparation that the German citizens prefer as a vaccine to give it away to poorer countries, and staying behind: angry doctors, perplexed vaccinators, critics of the corona policy who think they have been confirmed.
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Political criticism of Jens Spahn quickly became shrill in tone: “unacceptable”, “emergency braking”. Medical officials (“super disaster”), who speak of collapsing scheduling and annoying booster mess, express themselves in a similar way. Sure, the situation is difficult again, but also a worst-case scenario? And if so, is Jens Spahn’s minister responsible for this – alone?
The fact that what expires next is used first is a principle that millions apply every day when they reach for the fridge. It makes sense. And that people who want a booster vaccination can be put off by the fact that they shouldn’t get a Biontech syringe, but one with Moderna, is possible, but rather unlikely: Both are mRNA vaccines and work according to the same principle .
It is astonishing that the contracts with Moderna are what they are, and even more that this has not long been included in all distribution strategies.
At the beginning, the doctors loudly demanded their help
But the medical officials, who are now complaining so heavily, seem just as strange. Hardly any guild is so well organized, every medical professional must belong to at least one professional body, the respective chamber, plus the powerful statutory health insurance associations for the practices. Both institutions enjoy de facto sovereign rights, are heard by politicians in countless committees, and at least have a say in many of the processes in practices and clinics.
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At the beginning of the year it was the statutory health insurance physicians who loudly asked Spahn to be included in the mass vaccination. That was appropriate, as the law stipulates that the doctors in the practices have to ensure outpatient care, while the doctors in the clinics take care of inpatient, severe cases.
When all three pillars of the health system – the health authorities, the clinics, the residents – were finally included in the fight against the coronavirus from April onwards, the doctors cheered. And now?
The FDP wants to provide the next health minister
Now the well-organized, self-confident guild should not dwell on complaints, but use their power to protect the people from the violence of the fourth wave with Moderna. Incidentally, that would also help the doctors politically.
As can be heard the next federal health minister will be a free democrat. Spahn’s successor will be under great pressure to reform – despite the FDP’s understanding of the medical freelance professionals and the self-employed with their practices. Because the pandemic will be followed by calls to finally rebuild the German healthcare system: fewer duplicate structures, but more digitalization at last.
If the doctors, as an almost autonomous actor, want to have a say in all matters of health care in the future, they should prove that they will not allow themselves to be disturbed by the understandable instructions of Moderna-First.
They are still trusted by the masses, and insecure people, but also vaccine skeptics, are more likely to listen to their doctor in their regular practice than to appeals from the political leadership. Even in the fourth wave, the country cannot do without trust in its medical profession.