Politics

"Vaccination chaos"? What you need to know about the vaccination lottery

If you don’t want to do it differently, can’t you – or both? The KURIER looks for reasons for the vaccination differences between the federal states.

Tuesday evening, shortly before nine, Martin B. received an email from the state of Lower Austria: He could book a vaccination appointment from Friday. After all, he is a type 1 diabetic and a high-risk patient.

Good news for the 54-year-old – and irritating at the same time. His father, 82, still doesn’t have an appointment; nor does the 79-year-old mother, although she also has diabetes.

How does this all come together? And is it because B.’s parents live in a different federal state?

How B. are many. Every day, the KURIER receives reports from readers who lack logic in the vaccination strategy. The KURIER went on a search for clues and tried to find out how big the “vaccination chaos” is.

Can each federal state vaccinate as it wants?

No. Vaccination – like a large part of health care – is a matter of the country. As far as the Covid-19 vaccination is concerned, there are “priorities” of the national vaccination committee. Only on Friday did the federal states reaffirm their commitment to this timetable; it provides for the following throughout Austria: The highest priority is given to residents of old people’s, nursing homes and senior citizens’ homes and staff. Then there are employees of Covid stations and people who have to do with Covid patients, the age goes down to level 7 (healthy people between 16 and 60). The “problem” is: There are no sanctions for deviations. The federal government buys the vaccination, the federal states administer it – and like to set accents. A few examples: Vorarlberg wanted to vaccinate pharmacists in advance in January – other countries followed suit. In almost every country, the mountain rescuers put pressure on – and were quickly vaccinated. The situation is similar with other jobs such as pedagogues (vaccinated in Lower Austria, in Upper Austria it takes until Easter) or beauticians (vaccinated in Burgenland).

So is it up to the countries who gets it?

“You have to distinguish between two things,” says Maria Paulke-Korinek, vaccination expert at the Ministry of Health. “One is the medical-professional criteria according to which the priorities for vaccinations have been set. The other is logistics and the availability of vaccines. ”And each federal state faces different difficulties. “Be it because Astra Zeneca was until recently primarily used with people under the age of 65, or because home calls with the Pfizer vaccine were not possible. Or because the containers hold several doses and you need large groups of patients in order not to have to throw away any vaccine doses. “

APA – Austria Press Agency

Vaccination planning is difficult in detail. “At Pfizer, the minimum order quantity is 18 cans per doctor. That means: I cannot vaccinate 15 people who want to be vaccinated unless I throw something away, ”says the Styrian vaccination coordinator Michael Koren. As if that weren’t enough, large delivery quantities are still volatile. “I know that there will be an Astra Zeneca delivery next week. But he can’t tell me today how much the producer delivers. ”For Paulke-Korinek, the vaccination phases are a potential frustration factor: run one after the other. In practice, however, the transitions are fluid. That means: It can happen that individual federal states with (age) groups take longer and therefore the impression arises that others, who do not have as many people in this age cohort, are slower. “

Does every federal state get the same number of cans?

Generally, yes. Apart from special deliveries such as for Schwaz in Tyrol (here the EU has made a special delivery of 100,000 doses possible to contain a virus variant), each federal state receives a share of the Austrian quota according to its population. Sometimes that’s a problem. Because age or patient structure are not taken into account in detail. While in Carinthia 3.1 percent of the resident population are over 85, in Vienna it is only 2 percent. That doesn’t sound like much. In reality, however, it is about thousands of vaccine doses – and the differences exist in all age and risk groups.

Is there any abuse of vaccination registration?

No irregularities were discovered on a large scale. Vaccination coordinator Koren has anecdotes in store: “We had a 75-year-old who wanted to push ahead with a registration for a 100-year-old.” A visitor to a vaccination street claimed he was from the authorities. “He wanted to collect leftover vaccination doses. But we prevented that. “

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