Germany ramps up vaccinations, but could fall short of target
More than 800,000 coronavirus vaccine doses were administered in Germany on Tuesday.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recorded a total of 807,000 doses, which included 90,729 first vaccinations, 59,847 second, and 656,743 booster jabs.
At least 57 million people are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19, which represents 68.6 per cent of Germany's total population.
For comparison, on Tuesday a week ago - November 23 - 96,410 first vaccinations were recorded, and 63,365 a fortnight ago. However, there have already been significantly higher figures recently. On November 24 and 25, for example, almost 120,000 first vaccinations were registered.
Germany's health authorities want to provide up to 30 million first, second and booster jabs by Christmas, something that will not be possible at the current rate.
If 800,000 vaccinations were to be administered every day, only about 20 million would be reached by Christmas. The best performance achieved in Germany so far was on June 9, when a total of 1.4 million doses were given.
The RKI assumes that among adults more people have been vaccinated than the data suggest. One hundred per cent coverage of vaccinations cannot be achieved by the reporting system, the institute says.
Furthermore, there are considerable regional differences in the status of vaccinations against the coronavirus. Among the federal states, Bremen has the highest percentage, with 80.2 per cent of the population there fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Saxony brings up the rear by far, with only 58.2 per cent of the population fully vaccinated.
The Institute also announced that the number of coronavirus deaths reported within one day has reached its highest level in nine months.
The RKI said that 446 cases of people who died as a result of the coronavirus had been reported on Tuesday. A higher value was last reached on February 20, when it was 490.
At the moment, the number of coronavirus deaths reported daily is still less than half of what it was at the peak of the second wave at the end of last year - and this despite the fact that there are currently considerably more infections than at that time.
Experts attribute this to the positive effect of vaccination, which effectively protects against severe infections with the disease.
Health authorities in Germany reported 67,186 new cases to the RKI during the course of Tuesday, about the same number as a week ago.
The nationwide seven-day incidence rate fell for the second time in a row. The RKI gave the figure for new infections per 100,000 inhabitants per week on Wednesday morning as 442.9, compared with 404.5 the previous week and 118.0 the previous month.
On Monday, a peak value of 452.4 had been reached, while on Tuesday the value had been slightly lower at 452.2.
The incidences reported by the RKI have fallen compared with the previous day not only in federal states with high values - such as Bavaria, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony - but in a clear majority of the states.
However, Germany’s state governments are looking at tightening their coronavirus measures.
On Wednesday the authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia - Germany’s most populous state - reversed a decision they took just one month ago, and made the wearing of masks in classrooms compulsory.
The rule also applies to day-care services and to all other gatherings in schools, such as conferences and committee meetings, if a minimum distance of 1.5 metres cannot be maintained.
"In the current situation, in which we also have to deal with a new virus variant, we have decided for reasons of prudence to reintroduce compulsory masks in seated lessons," the state’s Schools Minister Yvonne Gebauer said.
The aim is to ensure that schools can remain open, and to limit official orders for quarantine measures as much as possible.