Berlin (dpa) – Without many more vaccinations, the federal government and the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) see a violent development of the fourth corona wave in the fall.
“Each individual vaccination decision also determines how safely we can get through autumn and winter together,” Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) said in Berlin on Wednesday. RKI boss Lothar Wieler warned: “If we don’t dramatically increase current vaccination rates, then the current fourth wave in the fall may take a brilliant course.
Wieler warned: “The pandemic is not over yet.” According to Spahn and Wieler, people who have not been vaccinated are currently being treated for Covid-19 in intensive care units. “The point is, the health care system is not overburdened,” the Minister of Health said. The number of unvaccinated people is still too large. At this stand, he could not be assured that there would not be a very heavy load or overload again.
The more people are vaccinated, the less bad the fourth wave would be and the sooner the pandemic would end, said RKI boss Wieler. “It is in our hands to prevent many serious cases and deaths.”
66 percent of the total population are vaccinated at least once, 61.7 percent have full vaccine protection (as of September 8, 9:21 a.m.). With the slow pace of vaccination progress and the increasing incidence, many concerns about further restrictions in the fall are growing. Spahn said: “The debate must go the other way: we have the means to vaccinate ourselves to regain freedom and normalcy.”
In recent months, the vaccination has proven to be “really great,” Wieler said. According to RKI estimates, vaccinations prevented around 77,000 hospital stays, around 20,000 cases in intensive care units and more than 38,000 deaths between January and July. It is estimated that vaccinations prevented more than 700,000 cases of infection during the period.
Spahn and Wieler also justified the calls for vaccination on the grounds that there is still no approved vaccine for those under 12. “It is the responsibility of all of us to ensure that these children are not infected as much as possible.” Vaccination is a personal and free decision – and should remain so, Spahn said. “But it’s also a decision that affects others.”
For those over 12, the vaccination rate is currently nearly 75 percent, Spahn explained. A quota of over 90% is targeted for those over 60 and 75% for those aged 12 to 59. At least five million vaccinations are needed for this. At this scale, intensive care units are then unlikely to reach the limit again, so there would be the prospect of a “safe fall and winter,” the health minister said.
Medical President Klaus Reinhardt has called for a restart of the coronavirus vaccination campaign. “The vaccination rate is too low throughout Germany, but especially in the eastern Länder,” said Reinhardt of the German news agency in Berlin. In order to reach the indecisive creative concepts, more targeted communication measures and low-threshold vaccination offers are needed.
With a week of nationwide action, the federal government wants to launch vaccinations from next Monday. Together with the Länder, it calls for offers that are easy to perceive in as many places as possible.
In the case of corona infections, the incidence over seven days decreased for the first time in two months two days in a row. The RKI reported the value on Wednesday with 82.7 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in one week (Tuesday 83.8; Monday 84.3; Wednesday of the previous week: 75.7).
However, RKI boss Wieler does not see a trend reversal towards lower infection rates. “We still have to look at it over a longer period of time.” There could be a day with a falling value, but observation over weeks counts. “So far, we haven’t seen any downward trend in incidence,” says Wieler.