GERMANS ARE used to being top of the class. Early in the pandemic, when Germany controlled its outbreak better than most of the West, they felt they were. In vaccinating citizens against covid-19, by contrast, the country has been a laggard. One in 20 has received a shot, compared with nearly a third of Britons, a sixth of Americans and, as Die Welt, a daily, recently grumbled, even a tenth of Moroccans.
German bosses are losing patience. Many workers at the industrial firms that dominate corporate Germany are vulnerable to covid-19 because factory or construction jobs cannot be done from home. Nearly all companies in the DAX 30 blue-chip stockmarket index, as well as countless CEOs of smaller firms, are therefore preparing to launch their own immunisation drives. They include BASF and Bayer (in chemicals), BMW and Volkswagen (carmaking), Deutsche Wohnen and Vonovia (property development) and RWE (energy).
The vaccines will come from the government, which has the doses but apparently not the capacity to get them quickly into arms. Firms are buying ultra-cold freezers for shots that need such storage. The jabs will be administered by company doctors. Germany has between 15,000 and 20,000 of them (not counting nurses), many more than other European Union countries, America or Britain. About one-…