Germany's new health minister, Karl Lauterbach, has stressed the importance of booster vaccinations in the fight against the new Corona variant Omicron. "Vaccination is only complete when you have been vaccinated three times," the SPD politician told ZDF's "heute journal" on Wednesday.
That, he said, is the new reality for being reasonably protected from Omicron. In all likelihood, however, two vaccinations will already mitigate the disease, "and three vaccinations will probably protect very well against severe disease."
He said it was necessary to ensure that Omicron reached Germany as late as possible. If the Omicron variant were to reach Germany nationwide, Lauterbach said that could impact who is considered fully vaccinated.
"If we actually had the Omicron wave here in Germany, then 2G would be reached when you have the third vaccination, so to speak," Lauterbach said. One could not then assume to be fully protected with two vaccinations. 2G means that recovered and fully vaccinated people will have access to facilities. "But we will cross that bridge when we reach it," Lauterbach said.
Still, he said, the first priority is to prevent infection with the Omicron variant in Germany. For this, booster vaccinations are an optimal preparation. This is the first pillar of health protection, "which we have in our hands. The second pillar includes a general obligation to vaccinate.
In this context, Lauterbach announced his intention to obtain an overview of the quantities of Corona vaccines in stock in Germany this week. "We have the basis for 30 million vaccinations by the end of the year," he told "Der Spiegel" "We are now first making an inventory in the house with all departments on Friday to see how many of these 30 million can really be vaccinated."
For this purpose, it will be checked which vaccine doses are stored where, which contracts for the purchase of further doses have already been concluded, how it looks with deliveries for January and which bilateral contracts are still possible, Lauterbach said. He will be accompanied by Bundeswehr General Carsten Breuer during the inventory at the Ministry of Health.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) had recently appointed Breuer as head of the Corona crisis staff. In this post, the major general is to deal primarily with the procurement and distribution of vaccines.
The traffic light coalition wants to give a massive boost to the vaccination campaign in the coming weeks. The Infection Protection Act, which is currently being debated in the Bundestag, provides for mandatory vaccination of certain institutions. In the future, pharmacists will also be required to vaccinate alongside doctors.
Photo by Mat Napo