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The former model Germany was overwhelmed by the second wave of the pandemic

Rostock, Germany-It was almost noon, but Stefan Bokhan’s phone call did not stop and ringing with people who wanted to know if they were eligible for vaccination, if not now, when?

A few days ago, Germany has changed its guidelines on who can be vaccinated. This has caused seemingly endless questions, from worried local residents to Mr. Bokhan, the health minister of a port city in northeastern Germany.

“Sorry, sorry, but we still can’t vaccinate anyone in category 2. Only those nurses or other nursing staff in the first priority can get the vaccine,”

; he told a caller. “You have to wait.”

More than two months before the country’s second total lockdown, people across Germany were increasingly tired of waiting for vaccines, waiting for government compensation or returning to normal life. For the Germans, this is a frustrating failure.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Germany demonstrated that it was a global leader in responding to the once-in-a-century public health crisis. Chancellor Merkel reached a consensus on the blockade. Her government’s testing and tracking tools are the envy of European neighbors. The country’s mortality and infection rates are among the lowest in the European Union. Its health services are excellent. In general, the trustworthy group complies with relatively few complaints.

no longer. In the second wave of the virus, Germany now finds itself in a swamp like everyone else. In loud complaints, and even in occasional protests before everything was closed, a series of new and stricter restrictions have continued. Nevertheless, the daily infection rate is still around 10,000 cases.

As elsewhere, concerns about the new variants first discovered in England and South Africa are putting the best plan aside. The German vaccination plan, which has been affected by the fate of the European Union, is in trouble. Only 3.5% of Germans have received the first shot, and only about 2% are fully immunized.

For a country that once ranked first in Europe (with a reputation for economic strength and organizational efficiency), this shift is not welcome.

The left-leaning Süddeutsche Zeitung said in an editorial: “This country has been obsessed with the glory of early success for a long time.” “Now, the coronavirus has exposed Germany’s huge deficit; in its governance, its administration, and political figures.

A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center showed that although more Germans are confident in their country’s response to the pandemic than Americans or British, their approval rate is in June 2020. It has dropped by 11 percentage points between December 2020.

As the Germans looked at other countries, especially the United Kingdom, with the help of German taxpayers who were waiting for the injection dose, they used the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to intensify their vaccination campaign, and this sentiment worsened.

Most of the delays were due to production shortages and the German decision to allow The EU will negotiate vaccines on behalf of the EU, which is the same as all 27 EU member states. But this solidarity effectively punishes a larger and wealthier country like Germany. Since then, the leaders of Brussels admitted the mistakes in the joint negotiations, but this did not calm the Germans who were still waiting for the vaccine.

The Merkel government has helped BioNTech refurbish the production facility that opened this month, hoping to relieve Pfizer’s burden on the factory in Belgium that is struggling to meet its orders. However, it will take weeks or even months for the increased supply to reach the vaccination center.

The Rostock center opened in late December, but because there was no dose, only staff were present for many days. In the days of vaccination, the number of retired doctors, German army soldiers and local volunteers is usually so small that the number of vaccinated people is higher.

“Our staff are great and the team spirit is very strong. They want to get vaccinated, get vaccinated,” Mr. Bockhahn said. “But when you can process 1,000 emails a day and only 400 this week, it’s frustrating. It’s clear.”

Vaccines are only one aspect of frustration. If small shops are not allowed to reopen, the mayor will warn the inner city of death. Some states have reopened schools, while others remain closed. The doctor warned that the blockade caused lasting psychological damage to the child.

Parents who lack online learning support are also frustrated. Germany’s strict data protection laws prevent Germans from using US-based digital learning platforms, but local solutions do not always run smoothly. In many public schools, education now involves teachers sending courses as email attachments for students to complete themselves.

Small and independent business owners are struggling to understand the rules governing whether they are allowed to work and whether they are allowed to work. Many of them are trying to make ends meet, while others give up. As the German economy has shrunk by 5% in the past year, small businesses have been hit harder than the industrial sector.

Ms. Merkel did her best to resist the tired public.In the past month, the Prime Minister who usually retains Before appearing in Berlin News Corporation, he had been interviewed twice on primetime TV and chatted with families who were dissatisfied with taking care of their children at home through video. Every time she provides guarantees, whether it is for tired parents who are busy with homeschooling due to work, or hairdressers eager to return to work.

She said: “I hope I have good news to announce.”

The same is true for Germans. As the country prepares to hold a general election in September-Merkel has stated that she will not run for another election-and will vote in multiple states in the next few months. The willingness to line up with the support of the Prime Minister is waning. Before she was in power for more than 15 years, she fought for positions.

“Since the last blockade, I have reduced all possible expenses,” said Helmuth Fromberger, who runs a small photo studio in the Bavarian town of Mühldorf. “But I have reached the point where I can no longer cut it to any degree.”

Usually at this time of year, he will be busy taking portraits and planning spring and summer weddings. This year, he was only allowed to take passport photos, earning about $70 a day. But because he is allowed to remain open, he is not eligible for the benefits the government has prepared to help companies offset losses.

He said in a telephone interview: “I actually don’t want the government to provide any assistance.” “But when they stop me from working, they have to take responsibility for it.”

In recent weeks, dozens of hair salons in 16 states across the country have worked together to file lawsuits against their forced closure. Ms. Merkel and the governor decided to allow the salon to reopen in early March, as long as the number of new infections does not explode, part of this can be attributed to this joint effort.

André Amberg, who runs a hair salon in the central city of Gotha, filed a lawsuit against the government in his hometown of Thuringia. He was forced to close the door in mid-December and applied for unemployment.

He said: “For me, the most frustrating thing is that I can no longer decide on my own life and work conditions.” “I am completely at the mercy of the government.”

So the Germans wait. Waiting for their leader to propose a solution. Wait for the number of infections to drop. Waiting for vaccination.

Dr. Reinhard Treptow is one of dozens of retired doctors who volunteered to vaccinate in Rostock. He spends more time waiting for medicines than vaccinating people.

He said: “We may do more.” He pointed to the stall-it is now empty and the doctor there is giving injections at the center. “What we need is more doses.”

When asked whether he thought Germany would be more wise to buy vaccines independently of its EU partners, he hesitated and pointed out that his daughter (living in South Carolina) had received the first dose of the vaccine.

He said: “We can only say that it does not work well here.”

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