German word of the day: Die Auffrischungsimpfung

With new state-wide 2G-plus rules on the way, you might be looking to get your Auffrischungsimpfung - or wondering what this term even means.

A blackboard with the work 'die Auffrischungsimpfung' on it
Photo: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

We’ve been hearing lots about the Auffrischungsimpfung in Germany in recent days (and the past few months) so here’s a closer look at what you should know about the word and the way it is used.

Die Auffrischung translates to refresh, and die Impfung translates to vaccine, therefore making a refresher vaccination, or booster shot. So far, more than 35.6 million people (around 42.9 percent of the German population) have been “geboostert”, meaning they have gotten their Auffrischungsimpfung, or booster shot.

Why do you need an Auffrischungsimpfung?

While Covid-19 vaccines significantly increase vaccine protection against coronavirus, studies show that this protection declines overtime. As a result, an Auffrischungsimpfung is needed to act as a top-up to the immune system and give further protection. 

On Friday, the federal and state governments in Germany agreed to stricter, state-wide rules to combat the new wave of the Omicron variant, with the so-called 2G-plus rules for the hospitality industry. 


It means you must either be vaccinated with your booster shot, or be vaccinated or recovered with a negative Covid test to enter places like restaurants, cafes and bars. 

States are currently putting together legislation to bring these rules in, so keep an eye on local authorities in the coming days. There may also be some regional differences. 

A sign to get vaccinated without an appointment in Wilhelmshaven.

A sign to get vaccinated without an appointment in Wilhelmshaven. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Hauke-Christian Dittrich

Who can get an Auffrischungsimpfung?

The booster is recommended for all those fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and over 18 years of age (and note that some states also offer booster vaccines for those 12 years and older).

It is also advised to wait three months after your last vaccination before getting your booster shot, unless you were vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, in which case, only a four weeks waiting time is recommended.

If you have a weakened immune system, or you’ve recently had Covid-19, you should talk to your GP about the best recommendation for you. 

Regardless of which vaccine was used for the first and second vaccination, an mRNA vaccine such as BioNTech and Moderna should be used for the booster vaccination.

READ ALSO: When should I get my booster in Germany if I’ve just had Covid?

Where can you get an Auffrischungsimpfung?

There are a number of places to get your booster shot: from vaccination centres or at your family doctors to pop-up vaccination centres in places such as Ikea and vaccination buses – Impfbusse.

It’s important to know that like a booster vaccination, the term Auffrischungsimpfung does not necessarily imply a coronavirus booster, with the word also being used in the context of other vaccinations such as a tetanus shot.

And Germans do sometimes use the English word “booster” so you may hear that on your visit to the doctor or vaccination centre too. 


Um mich gegen die neue Variante zu schützen, werde ich mir morgen eine Auffrischungsimpfung geben lassen.

To protect against the new variant, I am going to get my booster vaccine tomorrow.

Nach der Auffrischungsimpfung tat mir der Arm ein wenig weh, aber sonst ging es mir gut.

After my booster vaccine my arm was a little sore, but otherwise I was fine.

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German word of the day: Belastung

Sometimes things can be too hard to carry - but keep this German word to hand and you may be able to lighten the load.

German word of the day: Belastung

Why do I need to know Belastung?

Because this versatile little word can be found everywhere, from articles about contaminated waterways to discussions about teen mental health.

What does it mean?

Die Belastung (be.last.ung) can mean numerous things depending on its context, but generally it’s used to refer to a “load” or a “burden” of some kind. This can, of course, mean a physical load such as goods on a cargo train, but more often it’s a metaphorical one.

That’s why you may hear politicians in Germany talking about a “finanzielle Belastung” (financial burden) on citizens through inflation, or have a friend write to you about how their hectic new job is “eine Belastung” (a strain). 

Occasionally, Belastung can be a liability or debt, and other times it could be a heavy workload. 

If you hear it in an ecological context, it’s sadly most likely to be referring to pollution or exposure to a toxic substance.

READ ALSO: German word of the day: Beharren

Where does it come from?

The word Belastung appears to come from the noun ‘Last’ in Old High German, which was used to describe something that weighed a person down – in other words, a load. In Middle High German, ‘Last’ could also be used as a measurement to mean an abundance or large quantity of something – again, similar to the English ‘load’.

‘Last’ has the same meaning to this day and can be found tucked away in several German words with similar connotations. For example, as well as burdening someone with a Belastung, you can also free them of their heavy load with an Entlastung. Incidentally, the latter is the word usually used to describe financial relief measures taken by the government. 

Use it like this: 

Ich will an der Universität studieren, aber momentan sind die finanzielle Belastungen zu groß.

I want to study at university, but at the moment the financial burdens are too great.

Mein rücksichtsloser Freund ist eine Belastung.

My reckless friend is liability.