Students Must Be a Priority in COVID-19 Vaccination Process, German Education Minister Says

Students must become a priority for vaccination against the COVID-19 pandemic in order to contribute to the relaxation of measures at higher education in Germany, the Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek (CDU) said during an interview on Sunday.

German universities continue to hold courses mainly remotely for the third semester in a row, which according to Karliczek, has triggered more stress among students, Erudera.com reports.

Some individual universities have developed test strategies for smaller group classes or in-person exams. The employees of these universities, as well as school teachers, are equally considered a priority for COVID-19 vaccination. Nevertheless, there isn’t still any vaccination strategy that could help in organizing more in-person activities during the winter semester. 

Karliczek said that more attention was paid to schools than universities regarding pandemic management measures because the universities managed to organize distance learning better while university students welcomed this form of learning, at least at the beginning.

In a press release, the German University Association (DHV) expressed its support over a vaccination strategy, asking the government to provide universities more support in building COVID-19 test capacities so more in-person events can take place during the winter semester at the latest.

Minister Karliczek earlier said that people who work at universities and school teachers belong to the third group of people expected to be vaccinated against COVID-19, meaning they have a higher priority in the vaccination process.

Groups 1-3 include the elderly, medical staff, and people with pre-existing conditions, while people who belong to group 4 are considered without priority and will be eligible for the vaccine as soon as it is released by the government.

Ministries are hoping that all people living in Germany will be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by summer 2021.

Earlier this month, Health Minister Jens Spahn said that all of Germany’s 12 to 15-year-olds must be given at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of summer vacations. The federal government and state leaders agreed to vaccinate students at schools or at any of the vaccination centers, which are estimated to be around 500 across all 16 federal states.

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

Most recently, student representatives from ten federal states issued a joint statement, calling for more financial support, claiming that the support they have been receiving as part of the Coronavirus emergency package is not enough.

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