The vaccinations against the coronavirus have been going slowly for weeks. Now a fresh estimate shows that more people are likely to be protected than expected. What follows from this?
Berlin – According to a new evaluation by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the corona vaccinations in Germany are probably more recorded than in the registration statistics.
It can be assumed that up to 84 percent of adults are already vaccinated at least once and up to 80 percent fully, according to a current RKI report dated October 5th. This would correspond to vaccination rates five percentage points higher than according to official reports from the vaccination centers. Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) spoke of “really good news” and no longer considers mask requirements outdoors to be necessary – but inside, protective rules remain important.
“From today’s perspective, no further restrictions are necessary for this vaccination rate” – Minister of Health @jensspahn on the apparently higher vaccination rate in Germany. pic.twitter.com/0UdiopLccw
– Report from Berlin (@ARD_BaB) October 7, 2021
The vaccination campaign was “even more successful than previously thought,” said Spahn with reference to the RKI evaluations. “That gives us additional security for autumn and winter. With prudence and caution, we want to go back to freedom and normalcy step by step. ”The vaccination rates now achieved made it possible to forego any requirements outside, for example, about wearing medical masks. In indoor areas, access rules for vaccinated, convalescent and tested people (3G) with the option for 2G only remain important for vaccinated and convalescent people – as well as hygiene rules with distance and masks, especially on buses and trains.
“From today’s perspective, there will be no need for any further restrictions,” said Spahn, referring to autumn and winter. “Each further vaccination increases safety and enables even more normality,” said the Minister of the German Press Agency.
The SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach called the new RKI data plausible. Nevertheless, this is not enough for a “Freedom Day” – an end to all restrictions. “A few weeks of 2G and good vaccination offers would help,” wrote Lauterbach on Twitter.
80% of adults, of course. 20% of adults unvaccinated is still too high. https://t.co/a9DSi2Qc1s
– Karl Lauterbach (@Karl_Lauterbach) October 7, 2021
In the analysis, which was initially reported by the newspapers of the Funke Mediengruppe, the RKI explains that “the vaccination rate reported in the digital vaccination rate monitoring is to be understood as a minimum vaccination rate and an underestimation of up to 5 percentage points for the proportion at least once vaccinated or fully vaccinated can be accepted. ”The estimate is based on citizen surveys and registration data. To illustrate: five percentage points for adults roughly correspond to 3.5 million people.
The background to this is that in surveys by the RKI, significantly more people state that they have already been vaccinated than are recorded in the registration statistics. According to reports from vaccination centers such as practices, company doctors and vaccination centers, almost 80 percent of people over the age of 18 have received a first injection, and a good 75 percent have already received the second. In relation to the entire population, according to data from Thursday, 65 percent or 54 million people are now completely vaccinated with the second syringe, which is usually necessary for this. 56.8 million people or 68.4 percent of all residents have at least one first vaccination.
The RKI cites various explanations for a higher vaccination rate among adults – among other things, that people who are less willing to vaccinate are underrepresented in the surveys. In addition, the RKI states that people with poor knowledge of German cannot take part in the survey. “There is a presumption that language barriers also lead to a lower use of the COVID-19 vaccination.” In addition, certain vaccinations are not even recorded in the statistics. As early as August, the RKI reported “a certain degree of uncertainty” in the interpretation of vaccination rate data.
There are also delays in reporting. So far, only about half of the company doctors registered in the digital system have reported vaccinations via the web application. This could be “an indication of under-reporting of vaccination rates”. In addition, it can be assumed that not all vaccinations are transmitted via corresponding reporting portals in everyday practice. Assuming that all doses delivered by September 27th had been vaccinated by October 5th, the proportion of adults vaccinated at least once increased by 3.2 points.
The German Foundation for Patient Protection criticized it when the government relied on surveys to assess vaccination progress. “After all, it is known that socially desirable behavior is often indicated in surveys,” said Eugen Brysch, member of the management board. “The facts alone are decisive.” With hymns of praise for higher vaccination rates, Spahn is doing the vaccination campaign a disservice. dpa