Germans Line Up at Vaccine Centers as Booster Push Accelerates
(Bloomberg) -- Germany’s sluggish Covid vaccine campaign is rattling back to life, with many snapping up online appointments for shots and others enduring hours of lines in the cold to receive more protection against the coronavirus.
Some are taking to Twitter to voice frustration, elation or both at the surge in demand for Covid shots. Comments thanked those hardy enough to brave the elements for a shot, while others criticized authorities for not better organizing the latest inoculation push.
The jump in demand comes as the country deals with a surge in virus cases that’s already overwhelmed some hospitals. The specter of lockdowns looms as politicians urge citizens to get booster shots -- and plead with the nearly 15 million adults who’ve thus far refused to get a Covid shot to roll up their sleeves.
The pace of vaccinations has roughly doubled in the past two weeks, with 360,000 doses administered on Monday, according to the country’s health ministry. About three-fourths of those, however, were boosters -- a measure that officials hope will help curb the fresh Covid wave that’s pounding much of Europe right now.
On Monday, 47,000 Germans received their first dose, up from 39,000 a week earlier and 28,000 a week before that. Those numbers are small, however, against a backdrop of 14.8 million Germans ages 18 and up who still haven’t been vaccinated, including 3.4 million who are at least 60 years old. About 68% of Germans eligible for Covid vaccines are fully inoculated, compared with almost 90% of those in Portugal.
With support building in Germany for a vaccine mandate -- such as the one planned in neighboring Austria -- there’s also plenty of finger-pointing about why so many people have refused to get vaccinated. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s husband, Joachim Sauer, was quoted in an Italian newspaper saying that one contributing factor among Germans has been laziness.
Others accuse Merkel and other politicians of taking their eyes off the pandemic in the leadup to September’s national elections. A common refrain from politicians in recent days has been that nobody could have foreseen the intensity of the current Covid wave.
Yet there were ample warnings, including a very public one from the Robert Koch Institute public health agency. In a July report, the agency said that if Germany failed to vaccinate at least 75% of adults -- and preferably more than that -- then a massive Covid wave would hit in October and November.
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