Education Minister Says Students in Germany Must Get Priority for COVID-19 Vaccination

The Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek said that students should get priority in COVID-19 vaccination in order to start facilitating measures at higher education institutions across Germany and allow students to return to in-person classes for the winter semester.

According to her, with universities holding classes primarily online for the third semester in a row, stress among students has increased. Karliczek added that university employees and school teachers belong to the third group of people eligible for COVID-19 vaccination; therefore, they must be given higher priority in terms of vaccination.

Although some universities have developed initial COVID-19 testing strategies for smaller group classes or in-person exams, there isn’t any specific vaccination strategy that could help in organizing more in-person activities next semester. 

Once the mass vaccination takes place, international students across Germany who have a German registration certificate or German health insurance will be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine too, which is free of charge.

Leaders of states and the federal government agreed for the vaccination of students to take place at schools or at any of the 500 vaccination centers, while all costs will be covered by health insurance.

According to Karliczek, more attention was paid to schools than the universities regarding the pandemic, considering that universities have managed distance learning better and university students welcomed remote learning at the beginning.

Recently, the German University Association (DHV) said it would support a vaccination strategy and called on the government to offer more support to universities in building COVID-19 test capacities, claiming that in order for higher education to return to normality, acceleration of COVID-19 vaccination and a comprehensive range of tests is very necessary.

Since June 2020, Germany has been offering financial support to students in the country affected by the pandemic through its COVID-19 emergency package of €100 million. Yet, students receiving support from this package most recently said that the allocated amount of money is insufficient.

More than 40 percent of Germany’s population have already received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 14.8 percent have been fully vaccinated.

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