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COVID-19 VACCINES

Germany launches ‘vaccination week’ in bid to boost Covid jab uptake

A nationwide vaccination week was launched Monday offering people across the country jabs with no appointments in the community - including in kebab shops, market halls and sports centres.

Germany launches 'vaccination week' in bid to boost Covid jab uptake
A sign to get vaccinated at a disused tram wagon in Wuppertal. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Roberto Pfeil

Mobile vaccination teams were stationed across the country in places like libraries, buses, shops, churches, mosques and community centres to try and convince those eligible for the Covid jab to get it. 

Vaccination centres that remain open will also welcome visitors. No-one needs a prior appointment under the campaign’s motto: #HierWirdGeimpft or ‘get vaccinated here’.

And there’s also a push to get more creative. In Berlin, for instance, residents can get a kebab with their shot from Wednesday to Friday at Kaplan Döner in the Wedding district. There’s also a chance to get vaccinated at the zoo and sports venues. 

It comes as the 7-day incidence of Covid cases across Germany rose slightly to 81.9 infections per 100,000 residents. On Monday, health authorities reported 5,511 cases in 24 hours and 12 deaths. A week ago 4,749 new infections were reported. 

READ ALSO: Pressure mounts on German politicians to implement ‘vaccinated only’ rule

‘Vaccinate against the fourth wave’

The action week was launched on Monday – but authorities said that easy access to jabs would continue to try and drive the vaccination rate up. 

Angela Merkel’s chief of staff, Helge Braun, told ZDF on Sunday: “This does not end with the vaccination week, this will continue in the coming weeks.”

The aim is to help prevent a drastic fourth wave of the pandemic in autumn and winter. 

“If we don’t do anything, it (a severe wave) will likely come,” Braun said. As a result, he said, hospitals would fill up again, particularly with unvaccinated people. 

Frankfurt virologist Martin Stürmer told broadcaster ARD that in addition to vaccination campaigns, more educational work was urgently needed.

He said authorities needed to understand which population groups did not want to be vaccinated and see if they can be convinced.

READ ALSO: Germany considers Covid vaccination campaign relaunch to convince the undecided

Around 65.5 percent of people in Germany have received at least one jab and 62.2 percent are fully inoculated. That means around 34 percent of the population has not received a shot so far. 

The head of the Association of Towns and Municipalities called for social networks to be used in a more creative way. 

It’s always helpful “when celebrities from the arts, culture and sports make a clear commitment to vaccination and call for it,” Chief Executive Gerd Landsberg told Rheinische Post. “Just as we have reading ambassadors, for example, there should also be vaccination ambassadors.”

“The campaign that is now starting must be sustained – that is, over the next few months – otherwise we will lose the fight against the fourth wave.”

For the last weeks, politicians and health experts have been trying to figure how to convince sceptics to get vaccinated. The government brought in nationwide restrictions for entry into indoor spaces, meaning that people have to be vaccinated, recovered from Covid or tested.

Tests will no longer be free of charge from October 11th. This is intended to make life difficult for the unvaccinated.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday called for people to take advantage of the offers.

“It has never been easier to get a vaccination. It has never been faster,” she said.

According to experts, at least 75 percent vaccination coverage is needed to flatten the fourth wave, and significantly more to prevent it. 

Member comments

  1. This is a bit scary though… Is there any website from the producers (Biontech etc…) or from the government that I can write down the code number from that little sticker they put on my vaccination card and check if it’s a genuine vaccine and not salted water?

  2. What a great country! As if life hasn’t been hard enough for people over the last 18 months. Let’s make it ‘more difficult’ for them, shall we?
    Let’s make life so difficult for them that they are forced to inject a vaccine they may not need, and one with no medium to long term data. That will get them on side, won’t it?

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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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