The case is so shocking that the operator of the senior citizens' residence in Rudolstadt is overrun with inquiries and comments and has therefore published an appeal: "Please consider that our situation is not about headlines and views of vaccination opponents or vaccination advocates, but about human ones Fates ”, it says in it.

It is about respect for the grief of relatives and also for the employees.

"If, despite all the carefully implemented precautionary and protective measures, you could no longer do anything against the virus and for those affected, then no long-term work in nursing will save you from grief and emotional exhaustion."

Stefan Locke

Correspondent for Saxony and Thuringia based in Dresden.

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By Tuesday, 28 of the 147 residents in the old people's home had died of Corona.

According to the operator, 22 of the dead had no or only incomplete vaccination protection.

Overall, around a third of the residents were not vaccinated against Corona.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Health told the FAZ that there were sufficient vaccination offers in the affected facility.

On October 20, a mobile vaccination team from the Thuringian Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, which organizes vaccinations in the Free State, was in the nursing home to offer booster vaccinations.

92 of the residents were fully vaccinated, 53 received a booster vaccination.

50 residents deliberately did not want to be vaccinated.

Authorities know too little about the situation in nursing homes

"According to everything we know so far, the tragic reports from Rudolstadt have their origin in the deliberate rejection of the corona vaccination by a large number of residents or their relatives," said the spokesman. "That makes you deeply affected." The operating company of the home also confirmed that the vaccinations had been rejected. A spokeswoman pointed out that there is no statutory vaccination requirement. Therefore one has to accept the free decision of the elderly and their relatives or carers. “No matter how much we support the vaccination and would like all residents to choose this protective measure, this is only up to us to a limited extent.” As everywhere in society, people are skeptical of vaccines among residents and relatives.

The case is now making waves nationwide. The new Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) reacted in horror and spoke of “complete unreasonableness”. Just on Wednesday, another severe corona outbreak became known in a nursing home in Blankenhain in the Weimarer Land district. According to the district office, five residents have so far died as a result of the infection. Since mid-November, 34 of a total of 63 residents in the facility have been infected with the virus. According to a spokeswoman, all of the deceased were older than 80 years old. How many of the residents were vaccinated remained unclear on Wednesday. However, 18 of the 72 employees had also tested positive for Corona.

In addition to the danger posed by unvaccinated residents and employees, the cases also raise questions as to whether the authorities have an overview of how well senior citizens in Germany's retirement and nursing homes are protected from Corona.

According to research by NDR, WDR and “Süddeutscher Zeitung”, two thirds of the district offices do not have a complete overview of the situation in the facilities.

In addition, they do not know how many employees have been vaccinated there.

The Robert Koch Institute does not record these numbers either, although seniors are most at risk from Corona.

85 percent of all corona deaths in Germany are people who were older than 70 years.

Visitors back in the nursing home

The Thuringian Ministry of Health said on Wednesday that they had no information that large-scale vaccinations were being rejected in old people's and nursing homes. The German Foundation for Patient Protection, in turn, called for a debate on how to deal with vaccination decisions for people receiving care. Actually, the treating doctors should call a care court if the opinion of the doctor and the supervisor differ in order to clarify the will of the residents, said board member Eugen Brysch of the German press agency. “Everything else is negligent.” In other cases in which the opinion of the doctor and guardian differed, courts decided such questions within 24 hours, as Brysch said. You have to act quickly, you can't wait until there is a compulsory vaccination. “We are in the middle of a pandemic and we have 900.000 nursing home residents who need to be clarified who is responsible. "

Visitors were again welcomed in the Rudolstadt senior citizens' residence on Wednesday.

"After the last dramatic weeks, this is a longed-for sign that the infection process has been overcome," said the operator.

A spokeswoman said that employees and seniors were now increasingly asking for vaccinations.

The operators have recorded their own stance on their website: "We have had the experience that the virus caused severe and fatal courses of illness, especially in unvaccinated residents, and therefore renew our appeal to decide in favor of a vaccination."