German public health authority to investigate ‘underreported’ Covid jabs

German public health authority to investigate 'underreported' Covid jabs
People wait in line at the Messe Covid vaccination centre in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christian Charisius
Polls by Germany's Robert Koch Institute suggest that the number of first Covid vaccine doses has been underestimated - so it's conducting a new survey to get to the truth.

According to a report by German daily Welt, the Institute will survey 3,000 German adults in early autumn to try and uncover their attitudes towards vaccination and how many are willing to get (or have already had) a Covid shot. 

The move is an attempt to obtain accurate vaccination numbers after the RKI highlighted major discrepancies between its own polling and the government’s figures as published on the digital dashboard 

The most dramatic difference was in the 18-59 age group, where RKI’s Covid monitoring wing, Covimo, found that 79 percent of those surveyed had been given at least one dose of vaccine.

READ ALSO: ANALYSIS: Is Germany underestimating its Covid vaccination numbers?

At the time, the government’s figures suggested that only 59 percent of 18-59 year olds had had their first shot. The figures returned by RKI for the proportion of people fully inoculated matched the government’s almost exactly.

‘Measure of uncertainty’

The RKI believes that the real figure for first doses may be somewhere between the two figures, since there are issues with the methods used for obtaining information on both sides.

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The should be a “measure of uncertainty” when interpreting the numbers, it said. 

For the government figures – which are compiled on the back of reports from vaccination centres, GPs, company physicians and mobile vaccination teams – there are suggestions that local doctors’ surgeries are underreported their vaccinations. 

READ ALSO: Here’s where (and why) Covid vaccine centres are due to close in Germany

There may also be issues with the consistency of the reporting of the number of Johnson & Johnson jabs given out, since most doctors only report the single-dose vaccine as a second dose.

Meanwhile, the RKI’s surveys could well have been biased towards those who were positively inclined towards vaccination, and also excluded residents of Germany who can’t speak the language. 

As of Friday, 56.6 percent of the population were fully vaccinated, while 63 percent had been given at least one dose – according to official figures.

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