I had several questions from international media outside Freiburg about the queues in front of the vaccination center here. How did it happen?
The vaccionation center had a problem with people registering for an apointment but then not showing up, when they noticed that their vaccination date was for the AstraZeneca vaccine. According to media reports up to a one third of the people with appointsments didn’t show up. This may have diffrent reasons: The registration process is complicated (see the several page instruction manual, not sure how someone with low computer literacy is supposed to do that), the website is badly designed and the deregistration process for cancelign your appointment ist similarly difficult. So if you got a vaccine somewhere else, at your GP or another registration center, you have little incentive to cancel your appointment. Especially because its cumbersome. Severla organizations and individuals had approaced the state goverment and offered help to make it easier, but there seems to be no intrest in that.
Some weeks ago the Convention Center operators and the local newspaper, decided to make their own sign up system for people 60+, who were eligible for AstraZeneca at that time. That worked very well, within days all the 3000 apointments were gone. In order to get more people to vaccinate, ease pressure from the GPs and to make pressure on the state goverment to send more vaccines, they decided to do the same, but without appointments.
That seemed at the time a good idea for a limited and not necisarrily very digital age group: If you are 60 and above, walk to the center, get an apointment or get in right away and get your shot. Then on the 6th of May, the Minister of Health decided to make Astra availble for everyone. Some states had done that before, but not Baden-Württemberg.
Or to quote the local paper: „The news situation had changed at short notice on Thursday evening. Initially, the FWTM had assumed that the day of action would only apply to people over 60. But after a change in the nationwide requirement, all adults can now get Astrazeneca on Sunday. FWTM explicitly confirmed this again to the Badische Zeitung on Friday morning. Media reports to the contrary do not reflect the current status.“
Then the situation escalted. On the saturday before people started camping outside the vaccination center. Some social media reports say at around 6 there was already a queue. So the convention center decided to send out someone with a pieces of paper with a time on it. That worked, they walked along the line, that streched from the bus station to the entrance, to the next building and back again. But then the queue started moving towards them and no distance was available.
I arrived at 7:50 and took pictures. The distribution of appointments for later that day ended around 8:10. Apparently 3000 people queued and 1400 got a dose. The city council discussed it in a meeting on monday.
This overshadows a certain degree of sucess: The Freiburg vaccionation center is supposed to be one of the best in the state of Baden-Württemberrg, the districts around Freiburg have the highest rate of vaccionations in Baden-Würrtemberg and the city made great sucess with vaccinating vulnearble groups.
My personal opinion is: This shows people want to get vaccinated and we should have more and faster ways of doing so.
My pictures from this day made it into the Danish Newspaper Politiken: