Nationwide incidence value rises to 1206.2
The Robert Koch Institute reports 162,613 new positive tests within 24 hours. The nationwide seven-day incidence rises to a new high of 1206.2. The previous day it was 1176.8. However, these numbers are likely to be far too low. Experts assume a high and increasing number of cases that are not recorded in the RKI data, partly because testing capacities and health authorities are at their limit in many places. In addition, some cities and districts have been reporting problems with the transmission of the number of corona cases for days.
118 more people died within a day related to the virus. This increases the number of reported deaths to 117,974. (01.02.2022)
Biontech files US emergency use application for vaccine for children under five years old
According to a newspaper report, the Corona vaccine from BioNTech/Pfizer could be available for children under five in the USA in February. The drug companies are expected to file an emergency use authorization application for the dual vaccine for children ages six months to five years with the FDA on Tuesday, the Washington Post reports. This could then be available as early as the end of February, writes the newspaper, citing people familiar with the approval process. Pfizer, BioNTech and the FDA did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment. (01.02.2022)
Health authorities feel overwhelmed with the control of compulsory vaccination
The health authorities do not see themselves in a position to adequately control the compulsory corona vaccination for employees of clinics and nursing homes, which will come into force on March 15th. It is expected that on average five to ten percent of the employees will have no clear proof or no complete vaccination protection and a report will be sent to the health department, said Elke Bruns-Philipps from the Federal Association of Physicians in the Public Health Service Rheinische Post. “This is a significant burden with the examination of each individual case, as is now planned, which the health authorities cannot cope with in a timely manner.”
The law passed by the Bundestag and Bundesrat in December stipulates that employees in facilities with vulnerable people such as nursing homes and clinics must prove by March 15 that they have been vaccinated against Corona or have recovered from an infection – or submit a certificate that they are not can be vaccinated. Employers must inform the health authorities if this does not happen. They then have to carefully examine each individual case.
“In principle, a procedure is planned with the health department setting a new deadline for the submission of vaccination documents and a hearing. This means that each individual case must be examined,” explains Bruns-Philipps. The employees are allowed to continue working for the time being. The health department decides “on how to proceed and the measures to be taken at its discretion,” said a spokesman for the Federal Ministry of Health Business Insider. (01.02.2022)
Omicron sub-type could delay trend reversal
According to the health policy spokesman for the Greens, Janosch Dahmen, a trend reversal in the number of infections could be achieved much later than expected due to the spread of the omicron subtype BA.2. “It is possible that the trend reversal could be delayed by several weeks,” says the doctor Dahmen der Funk media group. The spread of the subtype is expected to push the peak of the current wave further back. Everything that is known about BA.2 so far suggests that the number of infections may not decrease in February. It is unclear how well people who have survived an infection with the omicron subtype BA.1 are also immunized against BA.2. “In view of BA.2, comprehensive easing in the next four weeks is rather unrealistic.” (01.02.2022)
Traveling without a booster is becoming more difficult in the EU
Traveling without a booster vaccination in the EU is now much more difficult for many people. Because the EU vaccination certificates have only been valid for around nine months (270 days) since Tuesday without a booster vaccination. After this period, people without this additional protection will be treated as unvaccinated when crossing borders.
This usually means that if you are traveling across borders in the EU, you need a current negative test or even have to go into quarantine. “This reflects the decreasing protection of the vaccine and underlines the importance of a booster,” said EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders.
The proof of vaccination consists of a QR code, which is created immediately after the vaccination in practices and vaccination centers. The code can be displayed in a smartphone app and read out digitally. Despite the various apps in the individual countries, the codes are recognized everywhere in the EU and make it easier to provide proof not only of vaccinations but also of recent tests and recent infections with the corona virus when travelling.
“With the new regulations for travel within the EU, the different regulations in the member states will be harmonized,” says the EU Commission. How long the basic immunization is recognized in the respective countries – for example for restaurant visits or events – can still differ.
In Germany there is currently no regulation that limits the period of time for which vaccination certificates are recognised. However, people with a booster vaccination may be exempt from testing obligations.
The EU states are only asked to adapt their national regulations. If they don’t do this, there are no immediate penalties. However, the EU agreements have political significance, so they recently fueled a debate about the validity of the convalescent status in Germany. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) defends a controversial reduction from six to three months. In an agreement at EU level, however, the EU countries agreed that this status should be recognized for travel for 180 days. (01.02.2022)
The right to a PCR test should remain in place
In the future, PCR tests to detect a corona infection should primarily be available for people from the healthcare sector. At the same time, the right to these high-quality, accurate tests should remain for everyone. That’s what Saxony-Anhalt’s Health Minister Petra Grimm-Benne said after a video call with her state colleagues and Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach
“The test regulation is a matter for the federal government. The Federal Ministry of Health is obliged to publish it as soon as possible,” said Grimm-Benne. She hopes that this will happen this week, according to the SPD politician, who is currently chairing the conference of health ministers.
The background to the prioritization is that the laboratories are reaching their limits with the PCR tests due to the strong omicron wave with the high number of infected people. Lauterbach had therefore announced last week that there should be a new order. If necessary, because of the prioritization, people should expect that it will take a little longer until they receive their PCR test results, according to Grimm-Benne. The prioritization is the task of the laboratories.
The health ministers were unable to agree on Monday about a return to recovery status in six months. The department heads rejected a request from Bavaria to extend the convalescent status from the current three to six months. According to Grimm-Benne, Lauterbach had confirmed in the switch that the shortening of the recovered status was based on scientific results. (31.01.2022)
Moderna vaccine fully approved in US
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given the vaccine from the American manufacturer Moderna full approval. Moderna and the FDA said the approval applies to people ages 18 and older. The authority spoke of a “significant step”. In August, the drug from the German manufacturer Biontech and its US partner Pfizer was the first corona vaccine to receive full approval in the United States. Previously, both vaccines were in use with emergency use approvals.
The FDA used an expedited process to process full marketing authorization applications, which require reviewing approximately ten times as much data. Experts also hope that the full approval of a vaccine will increase acceptance among the population. It can also play a role in the legal safeguarding of a possible vaccination obligation.
At the same time it became known that the company Novavax is submitting its long-awaited application for emergency approval of its vaccine in the USA. According to the company, this has been shown to be around 90 percent effective in clinical studies. The application to the FDA had been postponed several times. (31.01.2022)