German Health Minister calls for vaccine centres to reopen as Covid numbers surge
Jens Spahn, Germany's health minister, has appealed to the leaders of the federal states to open vaccine centres back up in order to speed up the rate at which elderly people receive their booster jabs against Covid-19.
"The states should now prepare to open the vaccination centers, which have been kept on standby since the end of September," Spahn told the Rheinische Post newspaper. "We need to do this so that as many people as possible receive a booster vaccination as quickly as possible."
Spahn also suggested that everyone over 60 should be invited in writing to be vaccinated for a third time. The German government wants to give booster jabs to elderly and chronically ill people in order to pep up their immune response against Sars-Cov-2 ahead of the winter.
"Current data from Israel shows that booster jabs can make a crucial difference in breaking the fourth wave," Spahn said.
The health minister urged state leaders to meet with the federal government to discuss booster jabs at a new coronavirus summit, a format that was typical at the height of the crisis.
He also reiterated that everyone is entitled to receive a booster vaccination.
The Stiko vaccine commission recommends the booster jab for people over 70, residents and caregivers in nursing homes, caregivers with direct contact with the elderly, and people with a weakened immune system.
Currently, about two-thirds of people in Germany are fully vaccinated.
On Monday morning, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported 9,600 new infections with the coronavirus and a rise in the 7-day incidence to 155 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. A week ago the 7-day incidence stood at 110.
'Not good enough'
Irritation at the slow pace of vaccinations at GPs practises came from the Green party at the weekend.
"Since we've closed most vaccination centers, GPs practices have not met the expectations we've had for them, neither with the first nor with the booster vaccinations," Green Party health expert Janosch Dahmen told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland.
"The pace of first and second vaccinations and boosters is not good enough," he said.
Dahmen expressed concern at the current situation on hospital wards.
"Already in the next few weeks, the number of intensive care patients could rise again to as many as 3,000. If a severe wave of influenza is added to this, we are running into a catastrophe," he warned.