Berlin is expected to receive around 1,900 additional doses of vaccine against MPX (“monkeypox”) from the federal government in the coming week. A spokeswoman for Health Senator Ulrike Gote (Greens) told the Tagesspiegel on request.
The cans are in addition to the approximately 9,500 that Berlin has already received. In addition, the health administration wants to use a query to the federal states to find out “whether we can still get vaccine doses from them,” said the spokeswoman.
As reported, appointments for vaccinations are tight in Berlin. In the gay community in particular, which has been hit hardest by MPX so far, there is great frustration that after a slow start to vaccination there are now hardly any opportunities to get vaccinated.
According to the Federal Ministry of Health, Germany has received around 45,000 doses of vaccine so far, and another 200,000 are expected for September. Berlin received around 28 percent of the vaccine doses from the first tranche, and almost a third in the second. Both the Lesbian and Gay Association (LSVD) and the German Aidshilfe consider this to be insufficient given that Berlin is an MPX hotspot in Germany.
According to the health administration, 4,500 vaccinations have been administered in Berlin so far, although not all vaccination centers have reported numbers. The difference to the 9500 can be explained by the fact that the rest is already planned in the practices.
The administration advised all participating practices and facilities to vaccinate the entire vaccine for initial vaccinations, just as Stiko recommends, the spokeswoman said. “However, we assume that vaccinators will hold back the second vaccination for individuals who are particularly at risk.” The second vaccination should actually take place at least four weeks after the first vaccination, but physicians assume that a later date is also justifiable. People with a previous smallpox shot only need one shot.
1436 MPX cases are currently reported for Berlin, out of a total of 2887 nationwide. At least in North Rhine-Westphalia, which is emerging as the second hotspot, the vaccine doses are also scarce. NRW has received 7300 doses so far. According to the Ministry of Health, there is a “high” demand: “Most vaccination centers use almost all of the available weekly quota.” Because of the high demand, vaccination centers are only allowed to order a limited number, a maximum of 100 doses per week.
Hamburg was more relaxed. Of the 2,100 doses delivered, 1,200 to 1,400 were vaccinated. It is assumed that this is “adequate”, it said on request. According to the Federal Ministry of Health, there is not yet a nationwide overview of how much vaccine has already been used or planned.
The LSVD and the German Aidshilfe called on the federal government to order significantly more vaccines. The Aidshilfe assumes that one million doses are needed for Germany. “Now we have to talk about how production capacities can be increased, maybe other manufacturers can be brought on board so that enough vaccine can be produced – for Germany as well as for all other affected countries,” says Holger Wicht from the Aidshilfe. The Ministry of Health had already pointed out that there is currently worldwide demand for the vaccine and that the manufacturer’s ability to deliver is temporarily limited.
The queer community in particular has come in for criticism that politicians are not taking the launch of the vaccination campaign and the fight against MPX seriously enough – because so far only a marginalized group has been affected. “The federal government is letting the queer community down,” said Alfonso Pantisano of the LSVD board on Thursday.
The Federal Ministry of Health and the health ministries of the federal states reacted “hesitatingly” and would delay the distribution of the vaccine as needed. It was unacceptable that some countries had vaccines left and hotspots like Berlin were left dry. More decisive action was needed, especially from Health Senator Gote .