Implementation of compulsory vaccination pushes health authorities to their limits

As of: 01/26/2022 3:51 p.m

The health authorities in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania do not see themselves in a position to control the facility-related corona vaccination. The Vorpommern-Greifswald district also sees problems. Rostock’s Social Senator Bockhahn (left) calls for a transitional period. Minister of Health Drese (SPD) responded to the criticism.

The health authorities in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania have been at the limit for months. From March, they should also enforce and control the facility-related vaccination requirement decided in mid-December. First, the district of Vorpommern-Greifswald raised its hands, now the district council also says: It can’t be done. This is what it says in a letter to the State Chancellery.

Health authorities cannot control compulsory vaccination

Accordingly, the health authorities in the northeast do not see themselves in a position to control the corona vaccination requirement for employees in hospitals, medical practices, facilities for the disabled and care. According to the managing director of the municipal umbrella organization, Matthias Köpp, the facility-related compulsory vaccination is a whole catalog of tasks for the health authorities. They should ban unvaccinated employees from working in the facilities and initiate fine proceedings. The sector has around 70,000 employees in the northeast, said Köpp. How many of them are still unvaccinated is unclear.

Vorpommern-Greifswald cannot enforce compulsory vaccination

Similar criticism came from the Vorpommern-Greifswald district. On Wednesday morning it was said that there was simply a lack of capacity to enforce compulsory vaccination for employees in nursing homes and hospitals. The health department and the district administration have been fully occupied with the corona-related measures for two years, said district spokesman Achim Froitzheim. The district can no longer fulfill additional tasks, such as monitoring and enforcing facility-related vaccination requirements. The district said they wanted to implement the job-related vaccination requirement. We are now waiting for specific instructions for implementation that are still outstanding.

Kreis expects a fifth unvaccinated

According to feedback from old people’s and nursing homes in Western Pomerania-Greifswald, which are subject to the home supervision of the district, it is assumed that around 20 percent of the employees have not yet been vaccinated against the corona virus. District Administrator Michael Sack (CDU) explained in this context that he would continue to support all efforts to achieve a high vaccination rate. “The more people who are vaccinated, facility-related or not, the better,” Sack said.

Rostock’s Senator for Social Affairs Bockahn: “We don’t even have the capacity”

Rostock’s social senator Steffen Bockhahn (left) also considers the implementation of a facility-related compulsory vaccination to be almost impossible. “At the moment we need lawyers, we need doctors and we need administrative staff so that we can implement the whole thing from March 15th, which is unimaginable at the moment. We currently do not have the capacity to implement this law – whatever you find that in the matter – to be able to guarantee,” said Bockhahn on NDR MV Live. Bockhahn believes that a transition period or postponement cannot be avoided.

“What we as public administration are doing to the health authorities is inhumane.”
Rostock’s Social Senator Steffen Bockhahn (left)

The public health service is already at the limit. “What they have been doing in the public eye for two years now is insane, sheer madness,” the left-wing politician continued. This can also be seen from the fact that many employees with signs of overload such as burnout dropped out. “This is really driving on the wear and tear of the colleagues. The Omikron wall is far from over. That will be an additional effort that you can hardly imagine. They work on edge and beyond.”

Minister Drese shows understanding

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania’s Health Minister Stefanie Drese (SPD) responded to the criticism: “I have a lot of understanding, the health authorities are very busy, but federal laws must also be implemented in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania,” said Health Minister Drese to NDR 1 Radio MV. The ministry is in regular contact with the municipal level and tries to help as best it can.

High workload despite additional positions

According to the minister, there have already been additional positions for the public health service. “Nevertheless, I know that the burden is particularly high right now in the swelling omicron wave in the health authorities.” The work of the health authorities would be made easier at the state level, “but it will not be possible to prevent the health authority from being particularly burdened during the pandemic in such a large wave with many numbers to report and many calls to make,” he said Drese further.

“No way to do it in seven weeks”

Social Senator Bockhahn is skeptical about a quick remedy. “We carried out a personnel assessment for ourselves in Rostock. It is such that we say that we do not have the staff there. We will certainly not get the staff by March 15th.” According to Bockhahn, recruitment procedures in the public sector lasted five months at best. “It won’t be much quicker. We’re talking about skilled workers here. It’s impossible to do it in the next seven weeks.”

The corona vaccination obligation for health and nursing staff comes into force on March 15th.

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NDR 1 Radio MV | The News | 01/26/2022 | 3:30 p.m

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