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Germany’s coronavirus infections rise for first time in four weeks

For the first time in weeks, Germany's 7-day incidence of new coronavirus infections increased compared to the previous day on Sunday.

Germany's coronavirus infections rise for first time in four weeks
PCR test results are examined in a laboratory in Ingelheim am Rhein. credit: dpa | Boris Roessler

The Robert Koch Institute reported an increase to 5.0 infections per 100,000 inhabitants, up from 4.9 the day before.

According to the figures, Germany’s local health offices reported 559 new infections to the RKI within 24 hours. That was a slight increase on a week ago, when 538 new infections were reported.

The last time that an increase in infections was reported was on June 2nd, which followed a similar slight increase on June 1st. Both of those days proved to be blips in a downward trend that started in late April, when the 7-day incidence stood at 169.3.

With the more contagious Delta variant rapidly becoming the dominant strain of the virus in Germany, epidemiologists expect that the downward trend in cases will slow down in the coming weeks.

A further seven deaths were reported on Sunday. Some 3.7 million people in Germany have now tested positive for an infection with Sars-Cov-2 since the pandemic began earl last year.

The number of people who have died from or with the involvement of a confirmed infection with Sars-CoV-2 now stands at 91,030.

Most Germans expect new restrictions in autumn

A large majority of Germans expect rising levels of infection and new government restrictions in the autumn despite the fact that the vaccine campaign is progressing roughly on target.

In a survey conducted by the opinion research institute YouGov on behalf of DPA, 76 percent said they expect the number of infections to go back up again in the autumn.

Seventy-four percent expect measures against the pandemic to be tightened in the autumn. Only 16 percent think there will be no new restrictions. Ten percent did not know.

The German government pledged last week that fully vaccinated people would not be subjected to another lockdown in the future.

READ MORE: Germany recommends mRNA Covid vaccine after AstraZeneca

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COVID-19 VACCINES

Are people who’ve had the single J&J jab no longer fully vaccinated in Germany?

Germany's federal vaccine agency says that people who've had one dose of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine should no longer be classed as being fully vaccinated.

People queue for a vaccination in Quedlinburg, Saxony-Anhalt.
People queue for a vaccination in Quedlinburg, Saxony-Anhalt. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Matthias Bein

People who’ve had J&J, sometimes known as Janssen, used to have full vaccination status after a single dose of the vaccine. 

Since January 15th, however, a single dose of J&J should no longer count as full vaccination, according to the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI), the country’s vaccine authority. 

In autumn last year the German government began recommending a second mRNA jab for people who’d had J&J – which many people thought was the booster vaccination. 

However, according to the PEI’s update on proof of vaccination within the Covid Protective Measures Exemption Ordinance and the Coronavirus Entry Ordinance, the second shot is needed to complete ‘basic immunisation’.

It is unclear at this stage if it means that people returning or coming to Germany from abroad with only one shot of J&J will be counted as partially vaccinated and therefore need to present tests or face other forms of barriers to entry. 

We are also looking into what this means for the various health pass rules in states, such as the 3G rules for transport. 

The Deutsches Ärzteblatt, a German-language medical magazine, said: “Special rules according to which one dose was recognised as a complete vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are no longer applicable.”

The Local has contacted the German Health Ministry for clarification on what this means for those affected. 

According to the latest government figures, 5.3 million doses of Johnson & Johnson have been given out in Germany so far in the vaccination campaign. 

The news will come as a shock to those who don’t know that they need another jab, or haven’t got round to getting their second vaccine yet. 

All other jabs – such as BioNTech/Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca – already require two jabs. 

People in Germany are seen as fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose. 

What about boosters?

As The Local Germany has been reporting, the German government said in December that people who’ve had J&J need a third shot three months after their second dose to be considered boosted.

A German Health Ministry spokesman told us last week that due to more vaccination breakthrough infections affecting people who’ve had the J&J vaccine, extra protection was needed.

“Therefore, after completion of the basic immunisation as recommended by STIKO, i.e. after administration of two vaccine doses (preferably 1x J&J + 1x mRNA), following the current recommendation of the STIKO, a further booster vaccination can subsequently be administered with a minimum interval of a further three months, as with the other approved Covid-19 vaccines,” the Health Ministry spokesman said. 

However, there has been much confusion on this front because some states have been accepting J&J and another shot as being boosted, while others haven’t.

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It is unclear if the new regulation will mean that states will all have to only accept J&J and two shots as being boosted. 

North Rhine-Westphalia, for instance, updated its regulations on January 16th and now requires that people who’ve had J&J and one shot have another jab to be boosted. 

Having a booster shot in Germany means that you do not have to take a Covid-19 test if you’re entering a venue, such as a restaurant or cafe, under the 2G-plus rules.

The Paul Ehrlich Institute said that proof of complete vaccination protection against Covid takes into account “the current state of medical science”. 

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