NewsCorona booster vaccination: "That was totally wrong" - Stiko...

Corona booster vaccination: "That was totally wrong" – Stiko admits mistakes

The booster vaccination for people aged 18 and over was only approved very late in Germany. The Stiko admitted its own mistakes.

Hamburg – The corona pandemic in Germany is getting worse. A nationwide incidence of over 400, daily more than 70,000 new infections – now even a new lockdown is being discussed. The prospective new chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) recently announced that he would prepare the necessary papers this year in order to vote in the Bundestag on a general vaccination requirement.

The question is: how did it come to this? Many experts blame it on the lax corona rules, which were tightened too late. On the other hand, it could also be due to the willingness to vaccinate, because the number of new infections in unvaccinated people is significantly higher than in vaccinated people. Even before the fourth wave, the nationwide vaccination quota stagnated for weeks. The Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) was also criticized for the late booster vaccination. The chairman Thomas Mertens has now admitted some mistakes from the past.

Corona booster vaccination: Stiko boss admits failures – and defends himself against allegations

The main point of criticism is the later recommendation for booster vaccinations. It was not until November 18, 2021 that Stiko gave the green light for booster vaccinations with mRNA vaccines for people aged 18 and over. Previously, the recommendation was only valid for men and women over 70. “From today’s perspective,” this decision was too late, explains Stiko boss Mertens in a television interview on ARD. A quicker recommendation would have “probably been cheaper.”

The problem was the data situation. A sufficiently well-founded, scientific basis is required for a recommendation. “If that is determined, then this data has to be collected, worked out. And when this data is available, Stiko begins to discuss this data, ”says Mertens.

The Stiko chairman does not want to take all the blame. The German infrastructure of the vaccination centers is also to blame for the current situation. It is not the task of the Commission to decide on the “implementation of vaccination” or to organize “how the vaccines are procured, how the vaccines are distributed. These are all things that do not affect the Stiko at all. ”According to this, the decision was made in favor of the 70-year-olds due to the poor vaccination infrastructure.

Corona: Israel criticizes German vaccination policy – “That was totally wrong”

But not only German voices rail against the Stiko’s late vaccination recommendation. The pioneering country Israel also criticizes the vaccination policy in Germany. “We had clear evidence, we have the data. There was no scientific basis to say that booster vaccinations only benefit those over 65 or over 70. We have seen that the number of antibodies is also falling in 40-year-olds, “said Ronnie Gamzu, former head of the Israeli vaccination program, on ARD. “That was just totally wrong. […] What kind of evidence do you still need? “

Israel is one of the leading countries in the world for booster vaccination. More than 50 percent of the people there have already received a booster vaccination. Mertens defends himself against the allegations from the Middle East. The comparison with Israel is not possible in many respects, and the evidence from other countries is not easily transferable. Here, too, the Stiko boss refers to the lack of vaccination options in Germany: “Since it was not foreseeable that we would be able to vaccinate our population as quickly as in Israel, we had to protect the people who were also vaccinated first are at high risk of serious illness. And that was the main reason for this recommendation. ”Still an incomprehensible decision for Gamzu.

On the part of politics, the vaccination commission also received too little support in places, complains Mertens: “In the situation of a pandemic one could certainly have used better staffing.” More experts such as epidemiologists or modelers would have been “certainly helpful”.

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The late vaccination recommendation was also heavily criticized by general practitioners, because what many do not know: The vaccinations are only reimbursed by the health insurance company after the official Stiko recommendation. The Stiko also took its time when deciding whether to vaccinate young people between the ages of twelve and 17. For family doctor Christian Kröner, the decisions of the commission are still incomprehensible: “In my opinion, the Stiko should have switched to pandemic mode more quickly, which they have not done until today.”

And how does it go on now? Children from the age of five can now be vaccinated, and booster vaccinations are permitted from the age of 18. In the regular corona peaks, in addition to nationwide 2G and 2G plus rules, there are also thoughts about compulsory vaccination. “What applies now is not sufficient,” warned Angela Merkel (CDU), who was still Chancellor, at the end of November. After the vaccination centers were hardly visited in the summer, there is now a lack of vaccine across Germany.

Few people know what the planning of German vaccination policy looks like. One of them is Jens Spahn (CDU). He is also in close contact with Stiko: “Federal Minister Spahn is in regular contact with the chairman of STIKO […]. The conversations are confidential. […] The emerging federal government will decide on future budget issues, ”explains a spokesman for the Ministry of Health on ARD. (aa / dpa)

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