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VACCINES

Germany to offer Covid jabs to all adults from June 7th

Germany will ditch its Covid vaccine priority list and start offering jabs to all adults from June 7th, Health Minister Jens Spahn said Monday, as the country's inoculation drive picks up pace.

Germany to offer Covid jabs to all adults from June 7th
A Rossmann employee receives the vaccine in Burgwedel, Lower Saxony on May 17th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Ole Spata

The move means anyone aged 16 and up will be eligible for a vaccine in Germany, scrapping the existing priority criteria based on age, jobs and pre-existing medical conditions.

“We have agreed to lift the priority system on June 7th… in doctor’s practices, among company doctors and in vaccination centres,” Spahn said after talks with Germany’s 16 regional health ministers.

After a stuttering start, Germany’s jabs campaign has kicked into high gear in recent weeks as vaccine supplies increased and general practitioners joined the effort alongside vaccination centres.

Germany last week hit a fresh record when it vaccinated more than 1.35 million in a single day.

Overall, 37 percent of adults in Germany, Europe’s most populous country, have now had their first jab. More than 11 percent are fully vaccinated.

READ ALSO: Germany vaccinates record number of people in one day

Spahn said Germany had been right to prioritise the most vulnerable at the start of the vaccination campaign, saying it had “saved lives”.

But given the fast progress of the vaccination campaign, “we can now plan the next step”, he added.

“Even when the priorisation is lifted that doesn’t mean anyone who wants to can get vaccinated in June,” he told reporters. Doctors and vaccination centres were still working their way through the current priority group, he said.

“But I can say that anyone in Germany who wants to be vaccinated to protect themselves and others, will get an offer.”

Several German states, including Berlin, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, have already gone ahead and scrapped their priority lists from this week. That has left doctor’s offices inundated with calls and emails from patients looking to get jabbed.

Germany already opened up AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to all adults earlier this month.

Germany is currently vaccinating priority group 3, which includes people over 60, those with pre-existing health concerns and people in frontline jobs such as supermarket staff, lawyers and bus drivers.

Member comments

  1. That is only three weeks away, & in Dortmund the Gruppe 3 Erhöhte Priorität 60+ group is STIL not opened for appointments. Guess we are being sacrificed for the sake of votes in the General Election.

    1. You should be upset with local politicians and not the federal government. I find it impossible to believe that 40% of your state is 70+ high risk group, which is the current 1 shot vaccination rate of your state. Something fishy there if they haven’t opened group 3 yet.
      But three weeks is a long time, i wish you the best of luck.
      Check https://impfdashboard.de/ for rates and info.

      1. It’s the State I have issue with – according to Dortmund, they simply don’t have the stocks from the NRW. And the 40% rate of the State does not of course mean that every area has been equally looked after, Köln seems to have been given plenty of doses, for instance. But thank you for the good luck wishes – much appreciated.

  2. Does “anyone aged 16 and up” mean that pregnant women will finally be allowed to get a jab or do they actually mean almost anyone?

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For members

COVID-19 RULES

EXPLAINED: The Covid rules in place across German states

Many Covid restrictions have been dropped in Germany, but some rules remain in place. And as infections increase again, it's important to be aware of what you should do if you get Covid.

EXPLAINED: The Covid rules in place across German states

Germany has relaxed or changed many Covid restrictions in recent months. However, with Covid infections rocketing again, people are reminding themselves of what rules remain in place, and what they have to do if they get a positive test.

Here’s a quick roundup of what you should know. 

Face masks

Covid masks have to be worn when travelling on public transport, including planes departing to and from Germany. 

They also have to be worn in places where there are more vulnerable people, such as care homes, hospitals and doctor offices. 

Masks are not mandatory anymore in shops (including supermarkets) and restaurants, but individual businesses can enforce the rule so watch out for signs on the door. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s current Covid mask rules

FFP2 masks have become the standard in Germany, but in some cases other medical masks are sufficient.

There are no longer any entry rules to public venues such as the 3G or 2G rule, meaning that people had to show proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test. 

However, they could return in autumn if the infection protection laws are adapted, and if the Covid situation gets worse.

Mandatory isolation 

The rules on isolation differ from state to state, but there is one general requirement: those who test positive for Covid have to go into isolation at home and avoid all contact with people outside the household. The isolation period lasts at least five days or a maximum of 10 days.

If you get a positive result at home, you should go to a test centre and undergo a rapid antigen test. If it is positive, the quarantine obligation kicks in. If it is negative, you have to get a PCR test.

If you have Covid symptoms, you should contact your doctor, local health authorities or the non-emergency medical on-call service on 116 117. They can advise or whether you should get a PCR test. 

Across German states, the isolation period lasts 10 days, but – as we mentioned above – there are differences on how it can end earlier. 

In Berlin, for instance, it can be shortened from the fifth day with a negative test if you have been symptom free for 48 hours. If this isn’t the case, the isolation is extended until you have been symptom-free for 48 hours and tested negative. But you can leave without a negative test after 10 days. 

A positive Covid test.

A positive Covid test. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sebastian Gollnow

Anyone who tests positive for Covid using a rapid test at a testing centre can have a free PCR test to confirm whether they have Covid-19. If the PCR test is negative, there is no obligation to go into quarantine.

In Bavaria, the isolation period is five days after the first positive test. For isolation to end on day five you must be symptom free for at least 48 hours. Otherwise, isolation is extended for 48 hours at a time until the maximum of 10 days. 

A test-to-release is not needed to end the isolation, unless the person works in a medical setting. 

READ ALSO: Germany sets out new Covid isolation rules

After isolation, Bavaria recommends that you wear an FFP2 mask in public places indoors and reduce contact for an extra five days. 

The state of Hesse has a similar system to Bavaria where a test is not needed to end the isolation early (unless the person works in a medical setting).

In North Rhine-Westphalia and Hamburg, residents can end their Covid isolation on the fifth day if they get a negative test (carried out at a testing centre). Otherwise the isolation period continues until the 10th day, or until they get a negative test.

Close contacts of people infected with Covid (including household contacts) no longer have to quarantine in Germany, but they are advised to get tested regularly and monitor for symptoms, as well as reduce contacts for five days. 

As ever, check with your local authority for the detailed rules.

Travel

Germany recently provisionally dropped almost all of its Covid travel restrictions, making it much easier to enter the country. 

The changes mean that entry into Germany is now allowed for all travel purposes, including tourism. The move makes travel easier – and cheaper – for people coming from non-EU countries, particularly families who may have needed multiple Covid tests for children. 

People also no longer have to show proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test against Covid before coming to Germany – the so-called 3G rule. 

However, if a country is classed as a ‘virus variant’ region, tougher rules are brought in. 

It is likely that travel rules could be reinstated again after summer or if the Covid situation gets worse so keep an eye on any developments. 

READ ALSO: Germany drops Covid entry restrictions for non-EU travellers

Vaccine mandate

The mandate making Covid vaccinations compulsory for medical staff remains in place. A vaccine mandate that would have affected more of the population in Germany was rejected by the Bundestag in a vote in April

READ ALSO: Germany’s top court approves Covid vaccine mandate for health care workers

Workplaces

Masks are no longer mandatory in workplaces, unless it is in a setting where more risks groups are, such as hospitals or care homes. 

The government no longer requires people to work from home, but employers and employees can reach their own ‘home office’ arrangement.

Tests are also no longer mandatory, but workplaces can offer their employees regular tests. 

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