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VACCINE

EXPLAINED: How Germany will roll out Covid-19 vaccinations after Christmas

Coronavirus vaccinations are set to begin on December 27th. Germany's plan shows which groups of people will get it first. Here's what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: How Germany will roll out Covid-19 vaccinations after Christmas
Health Minister Jens Spahn and Bavarian premier Markus Söder at a vaccination centre in Nuremberg earlier this week. Photo: DPA

What's the latest?

Germany aims to start vaccinating people against coronavirus on December 27th after the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is approved by the EU. It's already been approved by other places across the world including the US and the UK.

On Friday Health Minister Jens Spahn laid out how the vaccinations will be rolled out, and who will get the jabs first.

So who will get it first?

All going well, the first people to receive the vaccine will be the very elderly (over 80s) and care staff in nursing homes (more details below).

According to Spahn, this phase will take one to two months.

“Protecting the most vulnerable is the first goal of our vaccination campaign,” Spahn said on Friday.

READ ALSO: Covid-19 vaccine plan in Germany: 'Protecting the most vulnerable is first goal'

 

How many doses will Germany get?

The German government expects about 3-4 million doses to be available by the end of January, and 11-13 million doses by the end of March 2021.

That means it is likely to take until March to immunise the first group alone.

The population of the country is around 83 million.

After one to two months, the programme will be broadened out. “The winter will still be long,” the Health Minister warned.

He also appealed to people who receive the vaccination not to then disregard coronavirus restrictions, such as wearing a mask. These restrictions will have to remain until everyone has protection against Covid-19.

Spahn also called for patience. “It is important to me that not everyone tries to get an appointment on the 27th or 28th now,” he said.

He added that the vaccination regulations  would be adjusted should more vaccine doses become available. The transition between vaccinations of different priority levels will be smooth, he said.

A coronavirus vaccination centre in Nuremberg. Photo: DPA

Who is also a priority?

Spahn confirmed that medical staff in intensive care units would also be in the first priority group. But the very first vaccinations will be given to people in care homes.

The minister emphasised that he was following the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO).

“I ask you to wait until it is your turn as well,” Spahn said. “We start first with the elderly, the very old, those who care for them and look after them, to protect those very vulnerable.”

READ ALSO: Germany aims to begin vaccinations on December 27th

So who is on the list to receive a vaccination in the coming weeks and months?

The government has identified these groups:

Highest priority

As we said, the first category includes people over the age of 80, residents and staff at nursing homes. 

This group also includes employees of outpatient care services as well as employees of medical facilities “with a very high risk of exposure” to Covid-19. This includes staff in intensive care units or vaccination centres.

Higher priority

The second high priority category includes people aged 70 and over, dementia patients (or those with similar conditions), those with underlying health conditions and transplant patients.

People with Down's Syndrome will also be in this group, along with those who work in close contact with people in need of care.

Doctors and other health workers with a higher risk of Covid-19 exposure will also be in this group, as well as essential hospital workers.

Residents of shelters for the homeless or asylum seekers will also be in this group.

Next high priority

The third category includes people over the age of 60, the chronically ill, people “in particularly relevant positions in state institutions” such as police, as well as nursery educators, teachers and retail workers.

It also includes any remaining health workers not in the first two groups.

People working in places particularly badly affected by Covid-19, such as meat processing plants and warehouses, will also form part of this group.

These three groups are then to be followed by the remaining residents in Germany.

Member comments

  1. The Vaccine Had Nothing To Do With Covid-19. Many of the COVID-19 vaccines currently being fast-tracked are not conventional vaccines. Their design is aimed at manipulating your own biology, essentially creating genetically modified humans. The real goal is transhumanism. Just look up Klaus Schwabb The Fourth Industrial Revolution.
    This is why they want every everyone on this PLANET to get this vaccine for a disease with a fatality rate of less than 1%. Dr Fauci’s words, not mine.
    https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/09/15/profusa-injectable-biosensors.aspx

  2. MRNA based vaccines are not new, they’re already used in the veterinary field. The ingredient list on a mRNA vaccine is actually much shorter, they don’t use preservatives or aluminum salt adjuvants. If anything you should be overjoyed by that.

    As far as implantable sensors – I can tell you, from working in the bioengineering field -implantable sensors that are permanent are very very hard to make, because the body rejects them easily. There are a few implantable sensors that can be checked from outside the body, but they’re very specific and only measure 1 parameter (say, arterial blood pressure, and have to be calibrated to the patient), and they’re really just a little piece of metal.

    The technology required for such a thing is just not there yet. Much less in a tiny form factor.

  3. MRNA based vaccines are not new, they’re already used in the veterinary field. The ingredient list on a mRNA vaccine is actually much shorter, they don’t use preservatives or aluminum salt adjuvants. If anything you should be overjoyed by that.

    As far as implantable sensors – I can tell you, from working in the bioengineering field -implantable sensors that are permanent are very very hard to make, because the body rejects them easily. There are a few implantable sensors that can be checked from outside the body, but they’re very specific and only measure 1 parameter (say, arterial blood pressure, and have to be calibrated to the patient), and they’re really just a little piece of metal.

    The technology required for such a thing is just not there yet. Much less in a tiny form factor.

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COVID-19

German health agency expects number of Covid ICU patients to rise

The Covid pandemic is continuing to cause problems around Germany, with concerns that the number of patients needing treatment will rise in the coming weeks.

German health agency expects number of Covid ICU patients to rise

In its weekly Covid report, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said that confirmed infections appeared to be rising in some German states, and falling in others.

But experts warned that the situation remained tense, with many infections not reported. 

Therefore, in the coming weeks, “hospitalisations, an increase in intensive care treatment and deaths are to be expected, especially among the elderly”, said the RKI.

People over the age of 80 “continue to be most affected by severe courses of the disease”, the experts said in their report. 

The incidence of infections is continuing to rise for this age group, and the number of outbreaks of Covid-19 in medical treatment facilities as well as in old people’s and nursing homes is going up.

READ ALSO: Which Covid rules are likely to return to Germany in autumn?

The number of patients with Covid-19 being treated in intensive care units (ICUs) is also rising slightly. In the previous week, the number was reported to be around 1,330. And on Thursday July 28th, 1,550 people were in ICUs in Germany with 484 receiving ventilation treatment, according to the DIVI intensive care register. 

The number of deaths in connection with the virus is currently around just over 400 per week. The RKI says this trend is a plateau.

When it comes to the overall picture of Covid in Germany, the RKI said there was a “sideways movement rather than a decreasing trend”.

Last week, the nationwide 7-day incidence decreased slightly compared to the previous week. The overall picture shows falling incidences in most western German states and Berlin, with incidences still rising slightly in the other eastern German states and Bavaria.

The RKI estimates there’s been a total of 800,000 to 1.5 million people with Covid (who also have symptoms) in the past week alone in Germany.

Last week experts warned that they expected the Covid situation to get worse in the coming weeks as many schools in Germany return after the summer break.

READ ALSO: Germany’s summer Covid wave set to get worse

The Omicron sub-variant BA.5, which has dominated in Germany since mid-June, has almost completely displaced other variants. It accounts for 89 percent of samples in the past week, the RKI said.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach warned people against underestimating getting Covid again.

The SPD politician pointed out that it was very easy to become infected with BA.5 – even for those who were infected with a previous type.

He warned that many could become seriously ill or die, plus there’s the risk of picking up Long Covid.

“Therefore, we have to solve the problem not by constant infection, but by better vaccines,” Lauterbach said.

‘Call things as they are’

Lauterbach, meanwhile, defended himself against his choice of words when describing the possibility of a new dangerous Covid variant emerging in autumn. 

In an interview with Bild newspaper in April he said: “It is quite possible that we will get a highly contagious Omicron variant that is as deadly as Delta – that would be an absolute killer variant.”

He was slammed for his dramatic choice of words. 

This week Lauterbach said: “I use few vocabulary that is apocalyptic. But sometimes you have to call things as they are.”

If there were a virus that linked the contagion of the BA.5 variant with the severe course of a Delta variant, “that would be a killer variant”, he maintained.

But he stressed that he had “not said that such a variant is definitely coming, but that we have to be prepared for such a variant”.

READ ALSO: German Health Minister calls on under 60s to get next Covid jab

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