A pilot project by the State of Hesse has been running in Darmstadt since Monday. The company received a total of 3510 cans for this. Some employees still have to be patient.
DARMSTADT – On Tuesday morning, employees are queuing in front of the gym. The vaccination center, in which the chemical and pharmaceutical company has immunized up to 380 employees every day since Monday, is housed in the building on the eastern edge of the Merck site in Darmstadt. The state of Hesse has provided a total of 3510 cans for this purpose. Hesse’s Prime Minister Volker Bouffier (CDU) was able to personally convince himself during a visit to Darmstadt on Tuesday that the pilot project has got off to a good start.
Merck boss Belén Garijo, executive board member Kai Beckmann and the head of the company medical service, Katja Gilbert, showed the prime minister through Impfstrasse. “We are very pleased that we as a company are involved in this pilot project run by the State of Hesse,” said Garijo.
In the future, vaccinations by company doctors are to become the third pillar of the vaccination strategy, alongside vaccination centers and general practitioners. In addition to Merck, Sanofi-Aventis in Frankfurt, B. Braun Melsungen, Marburger Pharmaserv GmbH (this is where the Biontech vaccine is produced) and Fresenius Medical Care are participating in the pilot project. The country is providing a total of 12,500 vaccination doses from Biontech-Pfizer from the contingent of vaccination centers.
The five companies belong to the critical infrastructure, the employees are in prioritization group three and are therefore authorized to vaccinate. As is well known, Merck plays a key role in the fight against the pandemic, supplying, among other things, laboratory accessories and lipids for vaccine production.
However, the 3,510 cans from the pilot project are not enough for all 11,800 Merck employees at headquarters – which is why the company has prioritized according to departments. The offer went initially to production units, mainly of life-saving drugs, and to those that are needed to keep operations going.
Employees have been able to register since Friday. “The vaccination readiness is very high,” said the senior company doctor Gilbert. After just two hours, 1,000 employees would have registered. By next Wednesday, the 38-strong medical team should have administered all the doses. Not much will change for the vaccinated in the company, they want to adhere to distance and mask requirements and home office, according to a spokesman. “Our goal is to enable all employees to be vaccinated on a voluntary basis as soon as possible,” said Beckmann.
According to the Federal Ministry of Health, the company doctors should be included nationwide by June 7th at the latest. At least 500,000 cans a week are provided for them, it said. 200 companies have expressed interest in the pilot project in Hessen. Bouffier can imagine expanding the project, but this depends mainly on the vaccine. This is still limited and the distribution to the countries is different. So-called border states such as Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg received significantly more than Hesse.
In addition to the state’s pilot project, there are other initiatives: A pilot project of the Main-Kinzig district with the precious metals group Heraeus, Evonik Industries and Vacuumschmelze in Hanau and the workwear manufacturer Engelbert Strauss in Biebergemünd has been running for two weeks. Together they received around 1,000 doses of vaccine, reported the district. The airport operator Fraport vaccinates its employees in the local emergency room.