Most Covid hospital patients in Germany are unvaccinated, says doctor

Most Covid hospital patients in Germany are unvaccinated, says doctor
Staff in an intensive care unit in a hospital in Ludwigsburg in January. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sebastian Gollnow
A German intensive care doctor says the majority of Covid-19 patients admitted to hospital are unvaccinated - but there are some inpatients who've had the jab.

Most Covid patients in German hospitals have not been vaccinated, Cologne-based intensive care physician Christian Karagiannidis told the Funke Mediengruppe newspapers on Thursday. 

But there are some cases of people who’ve had “vaccination breakthrough infections” (known as Impfdurchbrüche, in German), and have been admitted to hospital.  

Overall around 88 percent of Covid patients admitted to hospital in Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia have not had the Covid vaccine. Karagiannidis said this was likely the case across the country. 

“Currently, in North Rhine-Westphalia, we have 12 to 13 percent of Covid patients in clinics with vaccination protection,” said Karagiannidis.

“This rate should be in line with the nationwide rate,” he added. The majority of vaccinated Covid patients are treated in regular hospital wards, he said, but there are also a few rare cases where vaccinated people receive intensive care treatment.

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In his experience, those being treated as hospital inpatients who’ve already been vaccinated usually have weakened immune responses.

The latest data from the intensive care register (DIVI)  shows 600 Covid patients are in hospitals across Germany, with 280 of them (47 percent) receiving intensive care treatment. 

On August 5th, the register reported 387 Covid-19 patients in hospitals across Germany, with 206 of those (53 percent) receiving ventilation treatment, signalling a rise in admissions. 

Karagiannidis said that in future, the intensive care registry will also collect and publish information on the vaccination status of Covid patients in ICU.

The doctor said it was important to offer booster jabs, particularly to patients who have a weakened immune system.

READ ALSO: IN NUMBERS – How the fourth Covid wave in Germany is developing

Should countries give out booster jabs?

Meanwhile, high profile virologist Christian Drosten said most vaccinated people would not need a booster jab against Covid in autumn – but it makes sense to give vulnerable people a top-up.

“The protective effect of Corona vaccines is much better than, for example, influenza vaccines,” he told DPA. He also does not expect the imminent emergence of a new viral variant that is resistant to vaccines.

For the elderly as well as certain high-risk patients, however, Drosten believes a top-up jab this autumn makes sense.

“After six months, the antibody level acquired via vaccination goes down significantly, especially in very old people,” he said.

But he said the important thing was to increase first-time vaccinations in the over 60s. 

The US government announced Wednesday that it expects to provide the entire US population with booster jabs against Covid beginning in September. They said it was to field off the spread of the Delta variant. 

But the World Health Organization (WHO) has slammed nations who are giving out booster jabs when many countries in the world don’t have access to vaccines. 

READ ALSO: Who’s about to get a top-up Covid shot in Germany – and why?


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