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

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

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

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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. 


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  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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