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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Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

German health ministers say that tougher Covid restrictions should come back into force if a serious wave emerges in autumn.

Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

Following a video meeting on Monday, the health ministers of Germany’s 16 states said tougher restrictions should be imposed again if they are needed. 

“The corona pandemic is not over yet – we must not be deceived by the current declining incidences,” said Saxony-Anhalt’s health minister Petra Grimm-Benne, of the Social Democrats, who currently chairs the Conference of Health Ministers (GMK).

According to the GMK, new virus variants are expected to appear in autumn and winter. Over the weekend, federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) also warned that the more dangerous Delta variant could return to Germany. “That is why the federal Ministry of Health should draw up a master plan to combat the corona pandemic as soon as possible and coordinate it with the states,” Grimm-Benne said.

Preparations should also include an amendment of the Infection Protection Act, ministers urged. They want to see the states given powers to react to the infection situation in autumn and winter. They called on the government to initiate the legislative process in a timely manner, and get the states actively involved.

The current Infection Protection Act expires on September 23rd this year. Germany has loosened much of its Covid restrictions in the last months, however, face masks are still compulsory on public transport as well as on planes. 

READ ALSO: Do people in Germany still have to wear Covid masks on planes?

The health ministers said that from autumn onwards, it should be possible for states to make masks compulsory indoors if the regional infection situation calls for it. Previously, wearing a Covid mask was obligatory in Germany when shopping and in restaurants and bars when not sitting at a table. 

Furthermore, the so-called 3G rule for accessing some venues and facilities – where people have to present proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative test – should be implemented again if needed, as well as other infection protection rules, the ministers said. 

Bavaria’s health minister Klaus Holetschek, of the CSU, welcomed the ministers’ unanimous call for a revision of the Infection Protection Act. “The states must be able to take all necessary infection protection measures quickly, effectively, and with legal certainty,” he said.

North Rhine-Westphalia’s health minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) warned that no one should “lull themselves into a false sense of security”.

“We must now prepare for the colder season and use the time to be able to answer important questions about the immunity of the population or the mechanisms of infection chains,” he said.

On Tuesday, Germany reported 86,253 Covid infections within the latest 24 hour period, as well as 215 Covid-related deaths. The 7-day incidence stood at 437.6 infections per 100,000 people. However, experts believe there could be twice as many infections because lots of cases go unreported. 

READ ALSO: Five things to know about the Covid pandemic in Germany right now