The first thing to say about when you can expect to be inoculated against Covid-19 is that the federal states are coordinating the vaccine program.
German states have different processes and a variable bureaucracy, so it also depends on where you live. Currently, the best performing states when it comes to vaccination are Bavaria and Saarland, while Mecklenburg and Saxony-Anhalt lag somewhat.
As a reminder: pregnant women and children under the age of 16 are not included in any of the following schedules as no vaccine has been approved for them.
But here is the approximate timeline of when you should be in line for a vaccination.
Highest priority (priority group 1)
Facts: 6 million people (seven percent of the population)
Vaccination period: December 2020 – March / April 2021
People with the highest priority on the vaccine list are all people over the age of 80 and people who live in nursing homes. In addition, caregivers who work with the elderly and medical staff who work with highly vulnerable patients (for example, those undergoing organ transplantation) and doctors and nurses who work in the Covid-19 wards are the professionals of the first priority group.
Vaccinations in the highest priority group began in late December and the first round of vaccinations in this group is almost complete. Some 5.4 million people have already received their first dose of one of the three approved vaccines. At 2.5 million, less than half of this highest priority group have received the second required dose.
High priority (priority group 2)
Facts: 16 million people (20 percent of the population)
Potential Schedule (March 2021 – June 2021)
Priority group two includes a long list of different people based on age, disease, and profession. For starters, it includes all members of the public between the ages of 70 and 79.
Then there is a long list of diseases that qualify people to get vaccinated in this group. People who are likely to develop severe symptoms due to a previous illness, including those who have had an organ transplant, people with dementia, serious psychological illnesses, acute diabetes, and cancer patients.
Here, two close contacts of dependents and pregnant women can also be vaccinated.
A long list of jobs also qualify people to get a vaccine in this group.
Police officers working on demonstrations, elementary school teachers, kindergarten staff, caregivers of people with multiple disabilities, and people whose jobs are relevant to hospital work are eligible.
Where you live is also relevant. This includes residents of refugee centers and people who work in refugee centers, as well as people who stay in homeless shelters and those who work in shelters.
Some states have already offered dating in this group, while others are beginning to do so.
Bavaria was one of the first to move to group 2: the southern state opened the registration process for appointments last week.
Schleswig-Holstein announced this week that people in group 2 could begin requesting appointments for vaccines starting Tuesday afternoon. However, the northern state asked for patience. While there are about 800,000 people in group 2, there are currently only 200,000 appointments available.
Lower Saxony also announced on Tuesday that it was now preparing to start vaccinations in the second priority group.
Analysis by Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) predicts that the faster states will complete vaccinations in this group in May, while at the current rate the slower states will continue to vaccinate in August.
Highest priority (group 3)
Facts: 12 million people (15 percent of the population)
Potential Schedule (May 2021 – August 2021)
This third group includes all members of the public between the ages of 60 and 69.
In terms of diseases, people with pre-existing conditions that are likely to cause a severe case of Covid-19 are also included. This includes people with a body mass index greater than 30, people with less acute diabetes, people with heart conditions, and patients with asthma.
People receiving care for any of the conditions listed above can also nominate two close contacts who can also be immunized in this category.
There is also a long list of occupations included. All teachers who do not belong to group 2 are listed in group 3. The same is true of people in medical professions. Also included are people who work in state administration, government, for the police, fire and justice departments.
The government’s plan is for people in this category to begin receiving their vaccinations in May.
But SZ’s analysis predicts that, at the current rate, the last people to be vaccinated in group 3 will have to wait until fall in slower states like Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia.
In Berlin, vaccinations in this group would end in August if the vaccination program does not increase in pace.
All others (group 4)
Facts: 17 million people (20 percent of the population)
Potential schedule (July 2021 – December 2021)
The rest of the population is in line to receive their vaccines. A condition for getting vaccinated is that you have health insurance in Germany, have an address registered here, or “normally reside” in the country.
According to the government’s schedule, people in this group should be in line to receive vaccinations starting in July. The plan is that everyone who wants to get vaccinated is vaccinated before September 21.
However, if the launch continues at the current rate, some people in this category would have to wait until early 2022 before taking a hit, according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung.
So are we really going to have to wait that long?
With an additional Johnson & Johnson vaccine expected to be approved this month, many experts expect the vaccination rate to increase markedly in April and beyond.
Also, GPs are expected to have permission to administer vaccines in April. With some 50,000 doctor’s offices poised to join the vaccine program, that move could provide a significant boost to the launch. According to the National Association of Physicians (KBV), these physicians could vaccinate 5 million people each week.
The national vaccine agency, Stiko, has also stated that supply shortage with all three approved vaccines it will stop being a problem in April.
All this means that the vaccination rate should accelerate considerably in the coming months.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism