Germany’s Covid vaccination rate higher than official stats, says RKI

German health experts say it is highly likely that more residents are vaccinated against Covid-19 than the official statistics indicate.

A sign shows the way to vaccinations at the Hanover vaccination centre.
A sign shows the way to vaccinations at the Hanover vaccination centre. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Moritz Frankenberg

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for disease control believes the real number of vaccinations carried out in Germany is up to five percentage points higher than the official reporting data shows. Five percentage points in the adult population corresponds roughly to 3.5 million people.

The RKI believes up to 84 percent of over 18s in Germany have received at least one jab, and up to 80 percent are already fully vaccinated (up to Tuesday October 5th). 

The estimate is based on citizen surveys and reporting data. According to official reports from vaccination centres, slightly less than 80 percent of those over 18 have received their first dose, and just over 75 percent have been fully jabbed.

READ ALSO: Germany doesn’t need a ‘Covid exit strategy like UK’, says Health Minister

The RKI says in its latest report that “the vaccination rate reported in the Digital Vaccination Rate Monitoring should be understood as a minimum vaccination rate”.

Health Minister Jens Spahn said that this means Germany’s vaccination campaign is more successful than expected.

“This gives us additional security for autumn and winter,” he said. 

Germany is aiming for at least 75 percent of the 12-59 year olds jabbed, and 90 percent of over-60s immunised to prevent another Covid resurgence hitting the country hard and overwhelming hospitals. 

READ ALSO: Covid resurgence likely to hit Germany in October, warns virologist

Why do experts think more people are vaccinated in Germany than we thought?

The Local previously reported in August how a poll on Covid-19 vaccinations in Germany suggested that significantly more people had received their jabs than reported. 

In a previous report, the RKI also said it had found “some uncertainty” in the interpretation of vaccination rate data. The health body said there were likely discrepancies between the figures from those it polled and the official statistics. 

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

The RKI cites various explanations, including the possibility that people who see vaccination as a positive thing may have been more willing to participate in the survey, which could lead to bias. 

Since the surveys were carried out in German, they would also have probably excluded people without the language skills to participate. 

Another reason could be connected to the way vaccines are reported. For example, when the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine was administered, doctors could have reported it as a second vaccination dose and were unable to note the vaccine type or the age group of the recipient.

Some jabs may also not have been recorded at all. 

Member comments

  1. Yes. It’s true. Almost all Americans living in Germany were vaccinated on our bases and it wouldn’t have been included in Germany’s stats.

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‘People liked the silence’: How Berlin’s club scene is struggling after lockdowns

Berlin's clubs are suffering from staff shortages, a lack of guests... and neighbours who've grown used to the silence, representatives for the scene say.

'People liked the silence': How Berlin's club scene is struggling after lockdowns

Some operators from Berlin’s club scene are bracing themselves for a difficult autumn. For months now, people have been allowed to dance again and life has returned to normal in the dark corners of Berlin’s famous nightlife scene.

But the clubs have far from recovered from the pandemic. They face staff shortages, rising prices and the prospect of a return to Covid restrictions in the autumn.

“We go into the autumn with huge fear, because the omens are totally unfavorable,” said association head Pamela Schobeß.

Spring and summer went anything but smoothly, she said. “There has been an oversupply of events. People aren’t going out as much, and some are still afraid to move around indoors.”

Money is also an issue. “A lot of people are afraid of rising energy prices.”

The industry lost workers during the pandemic and it’s hard to convince them to come back with the outlook for the autumn looking so gloomy, Schobeß says.

Her colleague Robin Schellenberg tells a similar story. People have switched to various other jobs and would even rather work on a supermarket checkout, which may have been considered less sexy in the past. Now, he says, some have learned to love not having to work nights.


Schellenberg runs the Klunkerkranich, a small club on a parking garage deck in Neukölln. Because a number of things have become more expensive, they have also had to increase their admission prices.

His impression is that people are going out less often and are deciding more spontaneously. In addition, people in the neighborhood are now more sensitive to noise. “Many people found the silence very enticing,” he said.

Some in the industry wonder what will happen next. Will club admission have to become much more expensive? Will that exclude people who can no longer afford it? And what happens if Covid infection numbers rise sharply?

If masks become mandatory indoors in October, Schobeß believes that would be bad for the clubs. “Even if we don’t get shut down by the state, we’ll actually have to close down independently ourselves,” she reckons.

Masks take all the joy out of the experience, she says. People have drinks in their hands and are “jumping around and dancing” and then security guards have to tell them “please put your mask on.”

The federal government is considering whether states should be able to make masks mandatory indoors starting in October. Exceptions should be possible, such as at cultural and sporting events, for people who have been tested, recently vaccinated and recently recovered.

In the event that Covid numbers soar, the states could then be allowed to tighten the rules and eliminate all exemptions.

READ ALSO: German court declares techno to be music