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Germany 'undermining confidence' in pandemic measures with bad communication

The Local Germany
The Local Germany - [email protected]
Germany 'undermining confidence' in pandemic measures with bad communication
A sign outside a bar in Starnberg tells customers to wear an FFP2 mask when entering. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Lennart Preiss

Germany's Council of Experts has claimed that the government risks alienating and confusing the public with its poor communication around Covid.

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In a statement released on Sunday, the Council of Covid Experts, which includes the Robert Koch Institute's Lothar Wieler and high-profile virologist Christian Drosten, gave a damning assessment of the government's crisis communication so far in the pandemic. 

"Most citizens want to actively contribute to ending the pandemic and behave according to applicable and reasonable rules," they wrote. However, "a lack of consistency of available information, its assessments and the resulting recommendations contributes to uncertainty among the population".

"This provides a target for misinformation and disinformation, undermines confidence in government action and jeopardises the success of important measures to protect health."

In what is so far the fifth position paper released by the panel, the experts urged the government to step up its game and implement "responsive, evidence-based, target-group and user-specific risk and health communication" as a matter of urgency.

Their strategy involved four key stages: the first was gathering of the best available knowledge; the second was translating the data into easily understandable, target-group specific information; the third was disseminating this data via "modern communication channels" and the fourth was showing willingness to review and adapt the strategy, if necessary.  

READ ALSO: ANALYSIS: Are Germany’s Covid rule changes backed up by science?

The news comes just weeks after the Ministry of Health made important changes to both the 'vaccinated' and 'recovered' by quietly updating the guidance on the Paul Ehrlich Institute website.

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People who'd had a Covid infection suddenly found that the amount of time they could rely on their 'recovered' status in bars, restaurants and other venues had been halved from six months to three, while people vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson found they suddenly needed an extra jab to count as fully vaccinated.

Speaking to The Local after the changes, a number of readers complained about the lack of reliable information and "confusing" communication from the government. 

“It’s very confusing trying to figure out the current rules,” one reader said, while others said the communication from the government was "infuriating".

READ ALSO: ‘Hard to keep up’: Your verdict on Germany’s ever-changing Covid rules

In a final barb at parliamentarians and officials, the expert council claimed there wasn't a single institution or authority in Germany who had followed best practices so far in its communications.

Its four crisis communication steps should now be implemented "quickly" to win back public trust, it argued. 

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Comments (5)

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Anonymous 2022/02/01 12:15
So many so called ‘Experts’ with little disclosure of income sources, especially in the Pharmaceutical area which is purported to be rife with ‘Payments’. Perhaps ‘full disclosure’ could help put the public’s mind at rest. Unfortunately, the major ‘Experts’ from RKI and similar appear somewhat lacking in coordinated response, being virtual slaves to slewed ‘Case’ numbers. Of note is the considerable good statistics from RKI which are abused by said 'Experts'. As for Politicians, a joke of inconsistency.
Anonymous 2022/01/31 22:20
The government hasn’t used anything other than pure speculation. They’ve been wrong on just about everything. Olaf Sholz and lauterbach seem to actually get a kick out of constantly changing the rules. they only want more lockdowns and suffering. They aggressively chase for lockdowns and are reluctant to even think of opening up. I doubt anything will change until they get their vaccine mandates. Would be interesting to see how many shares they have in these pharmaceutical companies. Because 3 jabs per person per year is alot of profit. < at the rate they've changed vaccination status i would think it reasonable to expect 4 per year. To keep it simple. You cannot comply your way out of tyranny.
Anonymous 2022/01/31 19:20
So it’s just communication then and not just garbage policy? Thank goodness.
Anonymous 2022/01/31 18:55
Freedom of speech still exists i see.
  • Anonymous 2022/02/01 11:28
    freedom of speech does not exist, just ask if you need an example ....
Anonymous 2022/01/31 15:12
The government hasn't used anything other than pure speculation. They've been wrong on just about everything. Adolf Sholz and lauterbach seem to actually get a kick out of constantly changing the rules. they only want more lockdowns and suffering. They aggressively chase for lockdowns and are reluctant to even think of opening up. I doubt anything will change until they get their vaccine mandates. Would be interesting to see how many shares they have in these pharmaceutical companies. Because 3 jabs per person per year is alot of profit. < at the rate they've changed vaccination status i would think it reasonable to expect 4 per year. To keep it simple. You cannot comply your way out of tyranny.

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