The corona situation is tricky.

The number of new infections is increasing because more contacts are taking place indoors and because public life and travel are much more normal than in the previous waves.

This openness can be justified, because despite the increasing incidence, hospitalization rates and deaths are still limited.

Christian Geinitz

Business correspondent in Berlin

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The comparatively mild course so far is mainly due to the vaccinations, which provide reliable protection.

At the same time, however, the following applies: The quota of those who have been vaccinated is stagnating, and even those who have been vaccinated can become infected and infectious.

Vaccination breakthroughs are also increasing, so that those who are actually immunized still develop symptoms.

Dangers lurk especially for the elderly and those who are ill.

To protect these groups, booster vaccinations are useful, usually a third syringe or, in the case of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a second.

There are enough doses and sufficient staff, such as vaccination teams, resident doctors and, in individual cases, vaccination centers.

Almost 15 percent of the vaccination doses delivered, that is 20 million units, are in stock.

And yet the so-called “boosting” is not making any headway. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), only 1.6 million refreshments have been administered since the campaign began in September. With currently around 36,000 a day, it should be around 1.8 million syringes by the end of October, i.e. 900,000 a month. That is much less than expected: The Central Institute for Statutory Health Insurance ZI had expected 10 to 10.5 million cases from September to the end of the year, i.e. at least 2.5 million per month. The Federal Ministry of Health also announced on Tuesday that the group of people in question was 10 to 13 million.

What many people might not be aware of: Everyone who is at least 12 years old and whose vaccination was long enough ago can already receive a booster vaccination. The Standing Vaccination Commission - the STIKO at the RKI - and the health ministers of the federal states have so far only issued recommendations for certain risk and occupational groups, but these recommendations are not binding. The legal basis is namely the Corona Vaccination Ordinance from the Federal Ministry of Health.

And this has been changed in terms of refreshments so that anyone who is entitled to a basic vaccination can also have a follow-up injection.

Clause 2 explicitly states that the general legal right to vaccination against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus also includes “follow-up and booster vaccinations”.

Only the vaccination intervals recommended by STIKO need to be observed.

A ministry spokesman made it clear on Tuesday: “According to the vaccination ordinance, a booster vaccination is possible for anyone who was vaccinated more than six months ago.

There is also a vaccine available for them. ”This makes it clear that the doctors can third-vaccinate anyone, that the costs are covered and that the state's liability for possible vaccination damage also applies in full.

Regardless of the STIKO recommendations and whether or not the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved the refreshments.

Both BioNTech and Moderna have received this approval.

But it is "not absolutely necessary and, above all, a marketing tool," it says in Berlin.

Risk groups should take advantage of booster vaccination

The rather cautious booster recommendations of the federal and state governments aim first of all to avoid another deadly corona wave among the old and the weak. These risk groups are mostly vaccinated, but the antibodies against the virus can decrease. That is why those responsible for the department, such as Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) or his Bavarian colleague Klaus Holetschek (CSU), have asked those at risk to get a second or third vaccination.

The politicians can rely on the resolutions of the Conference of Health Ministers, which are now actively offering boosting to a fairly large group: residents and employees in nursing homes, homes for the disabled and the homeless, medical and rescue personnel as well as all over sixty year olds who do this in consultation with their doctor wish.

Those who have previously received a vector vaccine from AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson (J&J) are also actively offered a booster regardless of age.

Only the mRNA vaccines from BioNTech / Pfizer and Moderna are re-vaccinated.

As a rule, in all cases mentioned, the interval between the previous full protection should be six months, but with J&J the "optimization of the basic vaccination" should take place after four weeks.

The STIKO does not support all of the recommendations, but it does support boosting for people over the age of seventy, for nursing home residents, for nursing and medical staff, for those vaccinated by J&J and for the immunocompromised. People with severe immunodeficiency (ID) from the age of 12 should receive a booster four weeks after the basic immunization.

Medical representatives meanwhile warn against a "run" on the third vaccination.

"The incidences are increasing, so politics must not lapse into action, but must continue to orient itself towards scientific findings," said Klaus Reinhardt, President of the German Medical Association, the FAZ. He means the STIKO advice.

They are clear and limited: “We should stick to this recommendation.

It is now particularly important to reach all relevant target groups with a sweeping refreshment campaign. "