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NIGHTLIFE

Bavaria mulls reopening clubs – but only for the vaccinated

Bavarian revellers could once again be able to hit the clubs in their home state this autumn - but only if they've had their Covid jabs.

Bavaria mulls reopening clubs - but only for the vaccinated
Guests partying at the exclusive P1 club in Munich. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Nicolas Armer

Markus Söder, the Bavarian state premier, told his cabinet on Tuesday that he wanted to reintroduce much more freedom for the vaccinated over the coming months, according to a report on BR24.

This would include opening night-time events and clubs for the vaccinated in autumn, and allowing immunised people to attend sporting events without counting in the official attendance numbers. 

READ ALSO: German football fans get green light to return to stadiums next season

Since Thursday, sporting events in the southern state have allowed up to 20,000 attendees – around half the capacity of a football stadium.

People who’d been fully vaccinated could also avoid quarantining on their return from holiday – though it is unclear how this would differ from national rules that exempt inoculated people from quarantine when they return from risk areas and high-incidence areas.

Under federal rules however, vaccinated people must quarantine when coming from a ‘virus variant area of concern’.

The timeline for introducing the new privileges is still unconfirmed, though the clubs could reopen after summer.

However, Söder believes that much more young people need to get vaccinated in Bavaria for his nightlife plans to make sense. 

Markus Söder, Bavaria and CSU leader. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

Jabs in shops, mosques and fast-food restaurants

The promise of getting to enjoy nightlife again isn’t the only way the Bavarian government is encouraging vaccination.

The state premier also wants see pop-up vaccination clinics set up camp in supermarkets, shopping malls, kebab shops, mosques, restaurants, pubs, and leisure centres. “Whatever works for each local area,” Söder said. 

READ ALSO: Car parks, job centres and festivals: How Germany is trying to get Covid jabs to everyone

In addition, mobile vaccination teams will head to markets, major sports events and businesses to offer spur-of-the-moment shots to anyone who wants one.

Meanwhile, the big state vaccination centres will become a lot more like drop-in clinics, with no appointment or prior registration needed for first-vaccinations. 

“The incentive to get vaccinated isn’t a currywurst or a beer,” said Söder, “The incentive is the ability to live a normal life again.”

Getting jabbed is the only way to “free ourselves from the Covid sword of Damocles,” he added. 

Söder has been considering ways to speed up Bavaria’s flagging vaccination drive for a number of weeks now as the state continues to trail behind the national figures

READ ALSO: Bavaria opens up Covid vaccines to all adults in bid to speed up jab drive

At present, 57 percent of people in Bavaria have received at least one jab, while 42.7 percent of the population are fully vaccinated.

On a national level, 58,9 percent of people have had their first dose of vaccine, while 43.7 percent are now fully immunised. 

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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.

READ ALSO:

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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