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HEALTH

Yellow booklets: How proving vaccinations in Germany changes in 2022

Some German states have started phasing out the yellow vaccine booklet.

Yellow booklets: How proving vaccinations in Germany changes in 2022
Yellow vaccine booklets are being increasingly phased out in favour of digital alternatives. Photo by DPA.

More German states could be on course to phase out the traditional yellow vaccine booklet in 2022.

German doctors typically write in and sign them whenever one of their patients receives a vaccine for any disease, not just COVID-19.

However, the country’s unprecedented campaign to vaccinate its population against Covid has brought up fresh concerns that the booklets are easy to forge—with hundreds of fakes recently discovered in Bremen.

Both Baden-Württemberg and Berlin have stopped accepting them as proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter venues, instead requiring digital QR codes. As 2022 began, Saarland followed suit—with the possibility of more federal states gradually phasing them out.

What are the alternatives to the yellow vaccine booklet?

When someone gets vaccinated for COVID-19 in Germany, they receive a QR code they can enter into a variety of apps, storing important information about what type of vaccine they got and when.

The QR code can then get scanned when they enter venues like gyms, restaurants, or theatres—or when travelling within the EU.

Commonly used apps include the country’s Corona-Warn-App and CovPass, but some pharmacies are now offering an alternative card to people who either don’t have a smartphone, or simply want a physical document proving their vaccination.

The Immunkarte, developed by a Leipzig start-up, is available either online or at about 7,500 partner pharmacies across Germany for slightly less than €10.

READ ALSO: How the rules of the EU Covid certificate for travel will change from February

For non-Covid vaccines, many German health insurers have begun offering electronic patient records that doctors can now log their vaccines into. The ePA can be accessed through health insurance apps and most recently, through desktop computer applications.

Member comments

  1. Good news. I’m struggling with smartphone and have applied for this new card. Cost €9,90 but better option than paper and with 3 jabs hope it will allow me to travel this year.

  2. “When someone gets vaccinated for COVID-19 in Germany, they receive a QR code they can enter into a variety of apps, storing important information about what type of vaccine they got and when.”

    This is false. Many if not most of us Americans are vaccinated on base in Germany or back home in the USA before coming over for deployment. We have to show our CDC cards to get the QR codes and it isn’t always easy. This whole thing is a huge mess and even when people do everything right (vaccinated and boostered), they can still be treated like 2nd or 3rd class citizens in the country they are living in. Unacceptable.

    1. Hi Lyssa77 thanks for your comment. We’ve heard a lot of similar issues and have contacted the Health Ministry several times to ask about it. Really is a big problem.

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HEALTH

WHO says European festivals should go ahead despite monkeypox risk

Most new cases of monkeypox are currently detected in Western Europe. The World Health Organisation says this is no reason to cancel more than 800 festivals scheduled to take place on the continent this summer.

WHO says European festivals should go ahead despite monkeypox risk

The World Health Organization said Friday that European summer festivals should not be cancelled due to the monkeypox outbreak but should instead manage the risk of amplifying the virus.

A surge of monkeypox cases has been detected since May outside of the West and Central African countries where the disease has long been endemic.

Most of the new cases have been in Western Europe.

More than 3,200 confirmed cases and one death have now been reported to the WHO from 48 countries in total this year.

“We have all the summer festivals, concerts and many other events just starting in the northern hemisphere,” Amaia Artazcoz, the WHO’s mass gatherings technical officer, told a webinar entitled “Monkeypox outbreak and mass gatherings: Protecting yourself at festivals and parties”.

The events “may represent a conducive environment for transmission”, she said.

“These gatherings have really close proximity and usually for a prolonged period of time, and also a lot of frequent interactions among people,” Artazcoz explained.

“Nevertheless… we are not recommending postponing or cancelling any of the events in the areas where monkeypox cases have been identified.”

Sarah Tyler, the senior communications consultant on health emergencies at WHO Europe, said there were going to be more than 800 festivals in the region, bringing together hundreds of thousands of people from different countries.

“Most attendees are highly mobile and sexually active and a number of them will have intimate skin-to-skin contact at or around these events,” she said.

“Some may also have multiple sexual contacts, including new or anonymous partners. Without action, we risk seeing a surge in monkeypox cases in Europe this summer.”

Risk awareness

The UN health agency recommends that countries identify events most likely to be associated with the risk of monkeypox transmission.

The WHO urged festival organisers to raise awareness through effective communication, detect cases early, stop transmission and protect people at risk.

The outbreak in newly-affected countries is primarily among men who have sex with men, and who have reported recent sex with new or multiple partners, according to the WHO.

People with symptoms are advised to avoid attending gatherings, while people in communities among whom monkeypox has been found to occur more frequently than in the general population should exercise particular caution, it says.

The normal initial symptoms of monkeypox include a high fever, swollen lymph nodes and a blistery chickenpox-like rash.

Meg Doherty, from the global HIV, hepatitis and sexually-transmitted infection programmes at WHO, said: “We are not calling this a sexually-transmitted infection.

“Stigmatising never helps in a disease outbreak,” she added.

“This is not a gay disease. However, we want people to be aware of what the risks are.”

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