It is a mishap with an announcement: A rush for vaccination appointments in North Rhine-Westphalia temporarily paralyzed the website 116117.de on Monday. They can be used to book appointments in vaccination centers nationwide.
After research by NewsABC.net, NRW Health Minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) wrote to all over 80-year-olds in mid-January: “Today I would therefore recommend that you make an appointment at your local vaccination center from Monday, January 25, 2021” , it says in the letter. “It is best for you or your relatives to use the online registration on the website www.116117.de. Or you call the free telephone number (0800) 116 117 01. “
It should be possible to book vaccination appointments in NRW on Monday from 8 a.m. But the rush to the website had been so great since midnight that the servers collapsed. The vaccination appointment page was not available until midday. In fact, the dates were already at least partially taken. The Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians have now assured that everyone who wants to be vaccinated will get an appointment. They asked for patience.
Minister Laumann was warned
The breakdown affects the most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which is governed by the new CDU federal chairman Armin Laschet as Prime Minister.
According to information from NewsABC.net, the call to all over 80-year-olds was planned before the CDU party conference. But first the state government heard warnings from the statutory health insurance associations that a general call to all over-80s would lead to technical problems with the website and the hotline.
After Health Minister Laumann planned the second attempt for vaccination appointments from today Monday in mid-January, the statutory health insurance associations intervened again, including a letter to Laumann’s ministry. With 1.2 million authorized persons in North Rhine-Westphalia, of whom experience has shown that relatives and acquaintances also call, “epic” call center capacities are needed that are simply not available.
As a result, a backlog of at least ten days when forwarding calls from North Rhine-Westphalia is to be expected. The bottlenecks would then also have consequences for other federal states, where callers would get busy signals at peak times.
The NRW Ministry of Health avoids questions about the advance warnings, pointing out that for legal reasons all people over 80 should have been invited. A spokesman: “According to the federal coronavirus vaccination ordinance, one of the groups of people who are entitled to a vaccination with the highest priority is ‘people who have reached the age of 80’.” For reasons of equal treatment, everyone who is affected should therefore be treated equally , also get access to appointments for the vaccination. The spokesman continued: “A staggered information or appointment allocation within this group of people would have preferred a number of people, disadvantaged another group. In our view, this would have violated the principle of equal treatment. In this context, from our point of view, there would not have been any reasonable criteria according to which people could be preferred, while others could be disadvantaged. “