Germany has reached its goal of 30 million additional immunizations against COVID-19 by year’s end, a push aimed at re-energizing a lagging vaccination campaign and countering a resurgence in COVID-19 infections.
Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said the 30-million mark was passed on Sunday, the dpa news agency reported.
” We have achieved an important milestone,” Lauterbach was quoted saying. We can be proud. “
Of the added shots, 25 million were boosters and 5 million were first- or second-time vaccinations.
The goal was set Nov. 18–even before new Chancellor Olaf Scholz was sworn on Dec. 8–to counter surging daily case numbers caused by the delta variant after the pace of immunizations had slowed since the summer. After the outbreak of the highly contagious Omicron variant, which began spreading across Europe, the goal became more urgent.
Daily case numbers in Germany have dropped recently, but officials warn that they could be higher soon.
Germany’s vaccination efforts have had their ups and downs. The early months of 2021 were marked by not enough vaccine shots, which left the pace well behind vaccination efforts in the U.S. and the U.K. The tempo caught up during the spring and early summer, then slowed down again in the fall as case numbers fell.
The pace has picked up again due to increased demand for boosters against the omicron, and restrictions by government on unvaccinated persons entering restaurants, stores, and transport. It reached a daily record of 1.66 million people on Dec. 15.
Still, the German government has had to postpone another goal, that of immunizing 80% of its population, to the end of January from Jan. 7. Currently 58.9 million people are fully vaccinated, or 70.8% of the population, according to dpa. The federal disease control agency, the Robert Koch Institute, said the actual number of those vaccinated could be up to 5% higher due to gaps in reporting.
Germany has recommended vaccination for all 12-to-17-year-olds and for children aged 5-11 year with pre-existing health issues. Children 5-to-11 without pre-existing conditions can be vaccinated if their parents wish.
(c) 2021 The Associated Press. All right