The head of the German health insurance company BKK ProVita, Andreas Schöfbeck, has been fired as of Tuesday, March 1st, in response to an urgent letter directed at the German control authority at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (PEI). As the European Conservative previously reported, the letter expressed concerns about the side effects related to COVID vaccinations, which the BKK found to be gravely under-reported.
The initial release of the letter was followed by a wave of indignation from several medical associations. Dr. Dirk Heinrich, chairman of the Virchowbund, Germany’s association of general practitioners, attacked the BKK, calling the insurer “Schwurbel-BKK” (‘babbler of alternative facts’), and accusing Schöfbeck of “embarrassing ignorance or insidious intent to deceive.” According to Dr. Heinrich, the “undesirable side effects” of the COVID vaccine include “the whole spectrum of expected, mild, and temporary side effects of a vaccination.”
The chairman of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, Andreas Gassen, attacked Schöfbeck from another angle. Schöfbeck’s claim for a deficit of clinical reports rested on the complicated and time consuming report procedure that made it impossible for physicians to report all cases of side effects. “Of course, relevant side effects are being reported,” Gassen said. But data from the U.S. suggests significant under-reporting, especially in mild reactions, “such as a rash or a burning feeling around the area where the injection took place.”
Andrew Ullmann of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) questioned Schöfbeck’s motivations: “I’m surprised by Schöfbeck’s behaviour. His open letter seemed to be aimed more at publicity, than elucidation.” Ullmann speculated that Schöfbeck’s calculations “probably included all vaccinated people that had to report ill for one or two days after vaccination. That’s completely normal and was to be expected.”
But, to many in the medical community, this issue, even if sensationalized, has merit. Tino Sorge, health spokesman of the union-fraction in the German Bundestag, expressed concerns with regards to the overall collection of data in Germany. “The doubts about the numbers purported by the PEI are mounting,” said Sorge. “Apparently there is a significant amount of under-reporting in terms of the vaccination rate, as well as the reporting of side effects,” which in turn makes “a serious debate about mandatory vaccination nigh impossible.” Virologist Dr. Klaus Stöhr welcomed the possibility that the PEI might address the injury numbers offered by health insurers, and hopes that further studies will commence in the near future.
A proposal by the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) to discuss the numbers reported by the BKK in the health committee of the Bundestag has been rejected by all other parties. Martin Sichert, Health Spokesman of the AfD called the lack of interest in this matter “grossly negligent.”
Schöfbeck was scheduled to attend a meeting with the PEI on Tuesday, March 1st, but was fired a few hours prior to this meeting. His place was taken by his deputy, Walter Redl. Schöfbeck had chaired the BKK ProVita for 21 years; no official statement of the insurer has been released by the time of this writing.