Germany’s teachers and Kita staff given green light to get Covid-19 vaccine this week

Teachers as well as Kita (daycare) staff will be able to get vaccinated against coronavirus from Wednesday.

Germany's teachers and Kita staff given green light to get Covid-19 vaccine this week
Pupils at a school in Munich which reopened this week. Photo: DPA

“Employees in Kitas, and in primary and special schools can be vaccinated from (Wednesday) by the states,” announced Federal Heath Minister Jens Spahn on Twitter.

Spahn said “additional security” was needed in an environment where distance and masks are not always possible, and where there are numerous social contacts between people from different households.

Since Monday, elementary schools and (Kitas) daycare centres in 10 states have been partially open again.

READ ALSO: ‘The right thing to do’: How Germany is reopening its schools

Hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses from the manufacturer AstraZeneca will likely be used for these vaccine jabs.

According to the Ministry of Health, more than 1.4 million doses have been delivered to Germany’s 16 states. However, according to the Robert Koch Institute, only 212,000 doses of these have been used.

The vaccine is approved only for people under 65 years of age due to a lack of data on its effect on the elderly.

There have been several reports of people cancelling appointments for getting the AstraZeneca jab, saying they would prefer the BioNTech/Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

Spahn is also hoping to come to an agreement on the allocation of free rapid tests at the next state-federal meeting on March 3rd. 

READ ALSO: Germany plans free coronavirus rapid tests for all residents


Teachers/teaching staff – (die) Lehrkräfte

Vaccine doses – (die) Impfdosen

Approved – zugelassen

Agreement – (die) Einigung 

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Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Since the start of Germany’s Oktoberfest, the incidence of Covid infections in Munich has risen sharply. Though a connection with the festival can’t yet be proven, it seems likely.

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Two weeks after the start of Oktoberfest, the Covid numbers in Munich have more than tripled.

On Sunday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported an incidence of 768.7 for the city of Munich, though updated figures for the end of the festival are not expected until later in the week. Usually, on weekends and public holidays, there is a delay in reports.

In the entire state of Bavaria, the incidence value on Sunday was 692.5.

According to Munich’s public health officer, Beatrix Zurek, bed occupancy in Munich hospitals has also increased. Two weeks ago, 200 beds in Munich were occupied by Covid patients, whereas there are now around 350.

Though a relationship between the sharp rise in infections with Oktoberfest, which ended on Monday, can’t be proven at the moment, it seems very likely, according to experts. A significant increase in Covid incidences has also been shown at other public festivals – about one and a half weeks after the start. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s famed Oktoberfest opens after two-year pandemic hiatus

After a two-year break due to the pandemic, around 5.7 million visitors came to this year’s Wiesn according to the festival management – around 600,000 fewer than at the last Oktoberfest before the pandemic in 2019, when there were 6.3 million.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) took to Twitter to comment on the rise in incidence in Munich during the Oktoberfest. “This would not have been necessary if self-tests had been taken before admission,” he said.

“Compared to the price of a measure of beer, €2-3 (for tests) wouldn’t have mattered,” he said.

Even before the start of the Wiesn, he had spoken out in favour of people taking voluntary self-tests. Lauterbach stressed that now is the time for special measures against Covid.

“The development shows what will happen if the states wait too long with the mask obligation in indoor areas,” he added.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s new Covid-19 rules from October

In neighbouring counties, where many Oktoberfest visitors came from, the number of Covid cases has also risen noticeably.  Beatrix Zurek said that it is unclear, however, how much of a role Oktoberfest played in these figures, as people are currently much more active socially overall, with concerts and other events also taking place throughout the state.

Christoph Spinner, an infections specialist at Munich’s Klinikum, has urged people not to be alarmed by the rising numbers.

“We had expected rising incidences here. We knew that there could be a doubling, tripling, even quadrupling,” he said.

He said that this is no cause for concern, as many people have been vaccinated or have also recovered from previous Covid infections, so any new infections are therefore usually mild.

The virologist advises people over 60 or with pre-existing conditions to get a second booster vaccination, but otherwise said people shouldn’t be alarmed by the rising incidences.