As in Würzburg, regions across Germany are now setting up an infrastructure for the major vaccination campaign. It has been agreed that the government in Berlin will ensure that the vaccine is available and that it pays for it. The federal states are responsible for the rest: the storage, the transport, the location, the hypodermic needles and the staff for the vaccinations themselves.
One of the biggest bumps is the temperature. The vaccine that is first on the market, that of Biontech and Pfizer, must be transported and stored at minus 70 degrees. But there too can be made a virtue of necessity. For example for the Va-Q-Tec company, also from Würzburg in Bavaria. They make containers and coolers that you can keep at any desired temperature for five to ten days, from minus 70 to plus 25 degrees.
Their product has never been so popular, says the company’s Moritz von Wysiecki. “There are not that many companies that can transport things below minus 20 degrees. We have shipped 50 percent of all corona test kits worldwide and are now talking to all vaccine manufacturers, as well as governments, hospitals and vaccination centers.”
Roll up your sleeves
Va-Q-tec recently closed a mega deal with a major pharmaceutical company that they cannot name, but it is obvious that it is Biontech / Pfizer. They are happy, of course, with the business, but also that they can contribute to a way out of the corona crisis. “We are very proud to be able to make this contribution, not just in Germany, but around the world. Now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and hit the gas.”
Even when the organization and logistics have been arranged, questions remain of course. Are there enough vaccines, for example, who gets them first and do people want to be vaccinated? In Germany, the fear of the unknown vaccine is much less than in the Netherlands. A recent survey shows that 37 percent are definitely want to be vaccinated, and 34 percent likely.
In the beginning, there will not even be enough vaccines available. Like in the Netherlands they have already decided in Germany who can go first: risk groups and medical and nursing staff. After that come essential professions such as agents and teachers. Only when large quantities of vaccines are available will the rest come.
Then ‘phase 2’ starts, as it is called in a plan of the Ministry of Health. Purpose: group immunity. But before that is achieved, fifty to sixty percent of the population must be vaccinated, that is 55 million Germans. A Herculean task. Both the German government and the German vaccine manufacturers are therefore tempering expectations: it will probably not be normal until next winter.