Germany praises vaccination effort, but Delta’s spread prompts fears

FILED - 16 April 2021, North Rhine-Westphalia, Bielefeld: A nurse holds a vial of Moderna vaccine against coronavirus. Photo: Friso Gentsch/dpa
FILED - 16 April 2021, North Rhine-Westphalia, Bielefeld: A nurse holds a vial of Moderna vaccine against coronavirus. Photo: Friso Gentsch/dpa

Germany’s fight against the coronavirus drew praise on Saturday, as Health Minister Jens Spahn noted jumps in vaccination numbers and relative gains versus other countries. But fears still linger that the virus is not done in Germany yet.

Half a year after the start of the country’s vaccination campaign, more than half of the populace has been vaccinated against the coronavirus at least once, and more than a third have already received the second jab.

According to data released by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for disease control and prevention, almost 44.4 million people, or 53.3 per cent of the population, have received at least one vaccination dose, while 28.9 million, or 34.8 per cent, have been fully vaccinated.

On Friday alone, 852,814 vaccine doses were administered.

For the first time, Germany is ahead of Britain in terms of the absolute number of people vaccinated, Spahn wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

Those rates could potentially go up, with Germany set to receive considerably more doses of Covid-19 vaccine from Moderna than originally expected in the third quarter, the Health Ministry said.
In July, 1.33 million doses per week are expected instead of the planned 733,000. In August, 2.57 million doses per week are expected, in September 2.95 million per week.

According to the new figures, the US manufacturer plans to deliver a total of 5.32 million vaccine doses in July, 10.28 million in August and 14.5 million in September. This gives an additional boost to the vaccination campaign, a ministry spokesperson said.

In the coming week, 5 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine and 1 million doses from Johnson & Johnson are to go to the countries’ vaccination centres as well as to doctors’ surgeries and company doctors, in addition to other deliveries already scheduled.

Health authorities in Germany reported 592 new coronavirus infections within the past 24 hours to the RKI on Saturday, almost half the 1,108 new infections reported one week ago.

A further indication that Germany was experiencing a downward trend in the pandemic was a seven-day incidence rate of just 5.9 new infections per 100,000 people nationwide during the past week, according to Saturday’s figures from the RKI.

By comparison, the previous day’s seven-day incidence rate was 6.2 and the previous week’s was 9.3.

According to the data, 68 new deaths were recorded in Germany within 24 hours. A week ago, there were 99 deaths.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the RKI counted 3,726,172 proven infections with the coronavirus. The actual total number is likely to be significantly higher, as many infections are not detected.

The number of those who have recovered was given by the RKI as about 3,618,400.

The number of people who have died as a result of the coronavirus rose to 90,746.

The RKI reported that the seven-day R-value, the reinfection rate, was 0.78 late on Friday, slightly up from the previous day’s 0.75.

This means that 100 infected people mathematically infect 78 more people.

The R-value represents the infection incidence eight to 16 days ago. If the R-value is below 1 for a longer period of time, the number of infections is decreasing; if it is continuously above 1, the number of cases is increasing.

But there are no guarantees that these figures can’t go into reverse. In Britain, the Delta variant of the virus, which is considered particularly contagious, has become predominant. Its share is also increasing in Germany.

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