After the vaccine, Berlin care home residents hope for visitors and good health

By Alessia Cocca and Riham Alkousaa BERLIN (Reuters) - Like most residents at her care home in Berlin, 43-year-old Kristina Lang agreed to receive the coronavirus vaccine when her turn came, but not without trepidation. 'They only said 'It's a vaccine and nothing will happen', but on TV, people were warned against the side-effects,' said Lang, who uses a wheelchair. She is one of 102 residents at the home

Reuters January 23, 2021 00:11:08 IST
After the vaccine, Berlin care home residents hope for visitors and good health

After the vaccine Berlin care home residents hope for visitors and good health

By Alessia Cocca and Riham Alkousaa

BERLIN (Reuters) - Like most residents at her care home in Berlin, 43-year-old Kristina Lang agreed to receive the coronavirus vaccine when her turn came, but not without trepidation.

"They only said 'It's a vaccine and nothing will happen', but on TV, people were warned against the side-effects," said Lang, who uses a wheelchair.

She is one of 102 residents at the home. Some have dementia, while others suffer from psychiatric disorders which mean they cannot live independently.

At one point a woman Lang shared a room with tested positive for coronavirus, but she escaped infection. Lang says she feels safer now the she has been vaccinated.

The care home manager, who declined to be named, said the mood among residents has improved since the new year.

"The most difficult time was at the beginning of December when we had a corona outbreak in the house that affected several residents and employees," he said.

He declined to say if there had been any deaths caused by coronavirus at the home, but as elsewhere in Germany, Berlin's nursing home population has been hard hit by the virus.

Of the 1,860 COVID-19 deaths in Berlin, around 60 percent can be traced back to outbreaks in care homes, according to the city's health authority.

The sector remains a major challenge across Germany, and governments have made nursing home populations the priority in their inoculation programmes.

"Unfortunately, we are seeing a very high number of outbreaks in nursing homes. We currently know of 900 outbreaks (in Germany)," Lothar Wieler, the head of Germany's Robert Koch Institute (RKI), said on Friday.

Out of more than 1.3 million people vaccinated so far in Germany, a third live in nursing homes, according to the RKI.

Nonetheless it will be some time before the vaccine will allow normal visitor routines to resume. Heike Felber, 57, broke into tears when asked how many visitors she had received since moving into the home in April.

"It's a difficult question," Felber said, looking forlorn as she sat on her bed at the home. Felber refused the vaccine. The manager said her children do not visit often, but that she received a present from her daughter and two letters from friends on her birthday last week.

"I didn't get visits even before (coronavirus)," Lang said drily when asked the same.

The Berlin health authorities said on Friday that around 96% of nursing homes residents had received a first coronavirus shot, and around 28% the second vaccination.

Around 75% of the home's residents accepted the vaccine, the manager said. Those who refused did so either because they were were afraid of possible side-effects or because they did not have the mental capacity to understand what it was, he said.

Margit Hechler, 64, has lived at the home for 16 years and said she was very young when she first began hearing voices after her father left. She plays piano, paints, sews her own clothes and makes bracelets and necklaces. The walls of her brightly decorated room are lined with her paintings.

Hechler received the vaccine, and apart from a brief wave of weakness, said she had no side-effects.

The virus doesn't scare her, she said, although she hopes for good health in the coming year. "This is my biggest wish ... because I have great pain and fears."

(Reporting by Alessia Cocca and Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.