“We can promise that anyone who wants an appointment in July can also have one,” said Health Minister Daniela Behrens (SPD) on Tuesday in the press conference of the Corona crisis team. The vaccination campaign is currently under the motto: “First vaccinate, then enjoy the holidays”. At the same time, the minister appealed to people to take advantage of the offer before their vacation. The vaccination centers have been asked to offer special promotions on the July weekends.
1.3 million vaccine doses announced for July
Currently 55.2 percent of people in Lower Saxony have been vaccinated once, 34.8 percent have already received the second dose, according to the minister. 155,000 people are currently on the waiting lists of the vaccination centers. In view of around 200,000 vaccinations per week, the waiting list will – purely arithmetically – be processed in a week. The boost in the vaccination campaign should then be made possible by the vaccine deliveries announced for July: The state government expects 1.3 million doses from all manufacturers approved in Germany for the centers this month alone – including the vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, which is only to be vaccinated once. At AstraZeneca, the country has meanwhile shortened the vaccination interval from twelve to nine weeks. In view of the quantities of vaccines, Behrens expects a first vaccination rate of 74 percent by the end of July, with the second vaccination it could then be 50 percent.
Minister does not see any vaccination fatigue so far
In Lower Saxony, Behrens did not notice vaccination fatigue, as could be seen from certain points in countries such as the USA and Great Britain. “You can’t really say that it’s easing off yet,” said Behrens. However, the interest is no longer so great. Initially 600,000 people were on the waiting list, now there are far fewer. Now it is a matter of actively promoting the vaccination. The country is planning a corresponding campaign.
Canceled vaccination appointments bad for practices and vaccination centers
The German Association of General Practitioners has found that more and more patients are canceling vaccination appointments. The Göttingen doctor Eva Hummers is a member of the Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) of the Robert Koch Institute and finds this development problematic: “That makes organization in practices and vaccination centers extremely difficult. Therefore, it is a bit critical.” On the other hand, a significantly more mobile population group is being vaccinated at the moment than at the beginning. “So I can imagine other reasons besides vacation, such as organizing work and family, why this is difficult in individual cases,” said Hummels to the NDR in Lower Saxony.
So far no reliable figures on the delta variant
Regarding the spreading delta variant, Minister Behrens said on Tuesday that the highest possible protection of the population had to be achieved by autumn. According to Behrens, the state government cannot yet fully understand the spread of the variant in Lower Saxony. While the Robert Koch Institute currently shows its share in around 35 percent of corona infections in Germany, the number of proven cases in this country is around six percent. It is clear, however, that the virus mutation will also play an increasing role in Lower Saxony, said Behrens. The measure of all things in this pandemic is still vaccination. Doctor Hummers confirms this assessment. The delta variant is very infectious. “So it is of course a good thing when people are also vaccinated.”
Mobile teams will be refreshing their vaccinations from autumn
For the recommended booster vaccination for elderly and immunocompromised people, the state government will be relying on mobile teams from autumn, which will be deployed in care facilities, among other things. Questions about the organization should be clarified in the coming weeks. The federal government wants to make vaccine available for the teams from October 1st and participate in the financing, said the minister. According to Behrens, the vaccination centers are to be closed at the end of September. In addition to the so-called “outreach vaccinations” in institutions and schools, the refreshments should then be carried out by general practitioners and company doctors. “We assume that the next vaccination can be organized like the flu vaccination,” said Behrens.