Not until October? Why it’s taking so long for the Omicron vaccine to be here
The head of the panel doctor railed against Lauterbach’s “unrealistic” corona plans
Karl Lauterbach wants to plan for Corona Herbst and is once again facing a lot of headwind.
The chaos is growing: Health Minister Karl Lauterbach wants to plan the Corona autumn. But he gets more and more headwind for it. Now the head of the panel doctor would like to declare the last containment measures over.
Germany is in the middle of the summer wave and nobody notices. Or want to know. Many do not currently consider it necessary to be tested for Corona. Experts like Thorsten Lehr, who developed the Covid simulator, fear that the number of unreported cases could currently be three times higher than the official statistics. And so the virus spreads on and on and on. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has bad thoughts when he thinks about Germany in the fall. He has already warned of a “catastrophic” pandemic development. And earned, as so often, scolding. Now the head of the panel doctors is also getting involved with a demand that makes some people rub their eyes.
Lauterbach wants a plan. Because if no suitable measures are decided in the fight against the virus, he fears that the number of infections would lead to overloading of the intensive care units again. “If we went into autumn like we are now, without further protective measures, without masks, without anything, that would mean that the number of cases would rise sharply,” said the SPD politician on Thursday during a visit to the US capital Washington of the German Press Agency. In addition, there is the increasing shortage of staff in the hospitals. He spoke of a “candle that burns at both ends”.
Unprepared for the German Corona autumn?
Time is running out. The legal basis for the now severely restricted rules expires in September. But between Lauterbach’s ministry and the house of Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP), there is still no sign of an agreement on planned corona measures. In any case, the FDP is considered the biggest brakeman in the traffic light government. But the Liberals are not the only ones who see the situation more relaxed, at least that’s the impression it gives.
Andreas Gassen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV), does not share Lauterbach’s concerns. Ultimately, measures are only needed, he told the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung” (NOZ), if a virus variant that has been proven to be more dangerous appears and, as a result, the number of seriously ill people increases significantly and there is a risk of overcrowding in the intensive care units. Otherwise not.” And further: “There are currently no signs of the ‘killer mutant’ feared by Mr. Lauterbach, which is as contagious as Omicron and as dangerous as Delta.” The idea of waiting until the problem is no longer just on The door is knocking, but has already happened, but is reminiscent of the early days of the pandemic, precisely the time when only a reaction was possible instead of a planned action – a scenario that Lauterbach is trying to avoid.
Gassen: Corona vaccination target is “unrealistic”
The federal government has therefore set the goal of doing another 60 million vaccinations against Corona in autumn and winter. The Minister of Health has long recommended the fourth vaccination for people under the age of 60. A goal that Gassen considers “unrealistic”. “The KBV did the math: With a second booster for everyone over 60, a first booster for all younger people and a generous contingent for those who have not been vaccinated – without much hope that previous vaccine skeptics will now get vaccinated – we calculate – generously – to around 30 million vaccinations,” he calculated for the newspaper. Instead, he assumes that vaccines worth possibly a hundred million euros or more will have to be thrown away.
For a long time, many hoped that so-called herd immunity would be achieved. So that the infection of a few no longer results in the contagion of many. Unfortunately, this community protection will not be achieved, at least in the near future. The vast majority of people in Germany have been vaccinated or have recovered. Many have now developed a certain level of immune protection against the corona virus. But not a complete one. Vaccinations, especially with boosters, protect against severe courses, and very well. But not permanently from infection. The same applies to those who have recovered. The immunologist Carsten Watzl explained why herd immunity is an unrealistic goal about a year ago.
High number of unreported corona infections
According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the nationwide incidence on Friday was 729.3 (previous month: 488.7). However, as already mentioned, this information only provides a very incomplete picture of the number of infections – mainly because by far not all infected people have a PCR test done. Only positive PCR tests count in the statistics. In addition, late registrations or transmission problems can lead to the distortion of individual daily values. The number of people who have to be treated in an intensive care unit with Covid-19 has been increasing again for a few weeks. And yet at least Gassen sees no need to be boosted again. At least he doesn’t intend to do that himself. “An uncritical booster vaccination every few months just because so much vaccine was ordered?” asked Gassen in the “NOZ”. “Several immunologists warn against it! A lot doesn’t always help a lot.”
He went even further. Instead of containment, he therefore relies on opening. Gassen believes that now is the time to lift all corona isolation and quarantine obligations – “until further notice”. He spoke of a return to normality and did not hesitate to draw a comparison between Corona and the flu in his argument. “Anyone who is sick stays at home. Those who feel healthy go to work. That’s how we deal with other infectious diseases like the flu,” he said. Germany cannot permanently hide from the virus. “We are the last country in Europe that is still so excitedly discussing a corona emergency,” Gassen said.
A steep thesis that was not well received by everyone. Eugen Brysch, head of the German Foundation for Patient Protection, even accused Gassen of “opportunism”. “The isolation protects. Because it prevents others from getting infected. Long and post-Covid are the consequences. Unfortunately, more than five million people who have recovered are already among them.” Gassen plays with people’s health, says Brysch. And Lauterbach also felt compelled to react. The Minister of Health commented on Twitter on Saturday: “Infected people have to stay at home. Otherwise, not only will the number of cases increase even more, but the workplace itself will become a safety risk. Sick leave should be made by telephone.”