Until now, only people listed as priority groups were eligible to receive most vaccines. The priorities were classified by age, state of health and profession. However, from June 7, the entire population from the age of 16 will be eligible for vaccines.
The new rules will apply to vaccination centers, medical practices and company doctors.
The vaccine supply is still limited in Germany, so despite the lower priorities, Spahn called for continued patience while people wait for a date.
Vaccinations are expected to continue “well into the summer,” Spahn said, with no chance of completing the process in June.
How is the vaccination campaign going?
Germany has just administered its 40 millionth dose of vaccine. About 37% of the population have received at least one dose and 11.2% are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
About 15 million people are expected to receive their first or second dose of the vaccine by June 7.
Spahn said authorities were already discussing when and how adolescents between the ages of 12 and 16 could be vaccinated. The European Union pharmaceutical regulator hopes to approve the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine for use in children as young as 12 in June.
Priority prioritization of AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines has already been dropped for doctors administering them in their practices. Some states have already abandoned priority rankings for other vaccines.
How did the doctors react?
The German Association of General Practitioners said there were still great challenges for the practice staff, who are already overwhelmed with demands.
“It’s understandable that everyone now wants to get their turn as quickly as possible, but I appeal to the patients: be patient,” said President Ulrich Weigeldt Rheinische Post.
The chairman of the German Patient Protection Foundation, Eugen Brysch, said priority abandonment should be determined by the progress of vaccination rather than an arbitrary date.
Are the infections low enough to enjoy the summer?
Infection rates are steadily declining in Germany, with 83.1 new cases per 100,000 population recorded every week.
Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said the drop in numbers could inspire confidence, but should not make people too rushed.
“We have not yet created the conditions to enjoy a summer as relaxed as last year,” he said. He said infections need to be drastically reduced further. At the same time a year ago, at the start of the pandemic and after a particularly moderate first wave in Germany, the nationwide incidence over seven days was 5.
aw / msh (AFP, Reuters, AP, dpa, epd, KNA)