The Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) is in favor of a second booster vaccination for groups that are particularly at risk of health and are exposed. She also recommends the use of the Novavax corona vaccine for people aged 18 and over.
For over 70-year-olds, people with immunodeficiency and residents of nursing homes, according to the Stiko, the renewed immunization should take place no earlier than three months after the first booster vaccination. Staff in medical and nursing facilities should receive the second booster after six months at the earliest. A draft resolution went to expert groups and federal states for approval, changes are still possible.
To justify this, the Vaccination Commission stated that current data showed a dwindling protection against infection after the first booster vaccination against the omicron variant within a few months. However, no further booster is recommended for people who have had a corona infection after the first booster vaccination. Stiko assumes that the second booster will be tolerated similarly to the first. However, the panel also stated “that the data on the effectiveness and safety of a second booster vaccination is still limited”.
The Novavax protein vaccine should be used for primary immunization with two doses at least three weeks apart, the expert panel said. However, the vaccine is currently not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women. A corresponding draft resolution went to expert groups and federal states for approval, so changes are still possible.
“In the approval studies, the vaccine showed an efficacy comparable to that of the mRNA vaccines,” Stiko explained. However, no statements can yet be made on the clinical effectiveness against the omicron variant. The Novavax vaccine, which should be available in Germany from February 21, could lead to vaccination reactions that are similar to those of the other approved vaccines against the corona virus. “The pivotal studies revealed no safety concerns regarding serious adverse events after vaccination,” the Stiko wrote. However, the data on Nuvaxovid is still limited. (03.02.2022)
Lindner brings tax breaks on the way
Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) has launched several tax breaks intended to relieve citizens and companies in the Corona crisis. A draft law, from which several news agencies quote, provides, among other things, to extend the home office flat rate for employees and extended possibilities for loss offsetting for companies.
In addition, the deadline for submitting the tax return for 2020 is to be extended again in cases in which it has not yet expired. Corona premiums granted by employers in certain professions should be tax-free up to a value of 3,000 euros. Tax subsidies for short-time work benefits are likely to be extended by three months until the end of March 2022. In addition, earlier profits should be better offset against current losses. This is to be extended until the end of 2023.
Calculated over a period of twelve months, the state will lose 2.6 billion euros as a result of the planned measures. According to Reuters, for the period 2022 to 2026, the experts at the Ministry of Finance calculate that the federal, state and local governments will lose almost eleven billion euros in tax revenue. The largest chunks will be in the years 2023 and 2024. In 2026, the measures are expected to have a positive impact on revenue for the first time.
Most of the measures are part of the coalition agreement between the SPD, Greens and FDP. The approval of the cabinet, Bundestag and Bundesrat is still pending. The economy has been supported with such tax relief since the outbreak of the pandemic. (03.02.2022)
Sweden lifts restrictions next week despite record levels
Despite record numbers of new infections, Sweden will lift restrictions on public life next week. “It’s time to reopen Sweden,” says Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.
At the end of January, Sweden had extended the restrictions for bars and restaurants, among other things, by two weeks until February 9th. When this period expires, the measures should be lifted. Infection numbers stayed high for quite a while, says Andersson. “But the worst of the contagion is now behind us, as far as we can tell.” (03.02.2022)
Nationwide seven-day incidence rises to 1283.2
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) once again announces maximum values in the corona pandemic. The health authorities reported 236,120 new infections within 24 hours. This means that almost 10.5 million infections have been registered in Germany since the beginning of the pandemic. The nationwide seven-day incidence rises to 1283.2. The previous day it was 1227.5.
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.
164 more people died within a day related to the virus. This increases the number of reported deaths to 118,334. (03.02.2022)
Scholz considers calls for easing to be too early
Chancellor Olaf Scholz sees the conditions for easing the Corona crisis not yet met. “The situation is not like that,” said the SPD politician on ZDF’s “Heute Journal”. When asked whether the government in Denmark had more courage with the recent waiver of practically all restrictions, Scholz said: “I think we’re doing what’s right for the citizens of this country.” The measures are supported by a “very large consensus”.
Only when the peak of the omicron wave has passed will the federal government discuss easing steps. “Unfortunately, we haven’t got there yet,” said the Chancellor.
The next crisis talks between the state premiers and Scholz are planned for February 16. Nationwide easing could be agreed there. At their last consultation on January 24, the federal and state governments agreed to develop “opening perspectives” as soon as the health system could be overburdened. (02.02.2022)
Söder calls for “consistent opening steps”
In the debate about the easing of corona restrictions, Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder calls for “consistent opening steps”, he said image. The CSU boss suggested: “With an FFP2 mask, we can do without the 2-G rule in retail. You only stay in shops for a short time. That could be implemented nationwide.” In gastronomy, you can keep the 2-G rule (i.e.: vaccinated or recovered), but do without an additional test. In addition, more spectators could be admitted to stadiums again. The principle should apply: “Where FFP2 masks are worn, contact restrictions can be reduced.”
The German Medical Association also advocated a step-by-step plan for possible relaxation. “If the infection process develops as epidemiologists predict, the number of cases will gradually decrease from the end of February,” said the President of the Chamber, Klaus Reinhardt, the editorial network Germany. “The federal and state governments should therefore be prepared and, if possible, prepare phased plans for openings, which can then hopefully be implemented soon.” (03.02.2022)
New Zealand is relaxing entry requirements
New Zealand will relax entry requirements from the end of February. Vaccinated New Zealanders staying in Australia can return home without quarantine from February 27, says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. From all other countries, quarantine-free entry for vaccinated citizens is possible two weeks later. these steps also apply to Australians and other nationals who meet the relevant strict requirements. Participants on working holiday programs and professionals will be allowed into the country from March and international students from April and can self-isolate instead of being placed in government quarantine facilities. All tourists from Australia and other visa-waiver countries such as Germany are permitted to enter the country from July, travelers from the rest of the world from October. (03.02.2022)
USA: The number of new infections is falling significantly
In the USA, the number of new corona infections continues to decline significantly. On average over the past few days, the country has recorded 446,000 new cases per day – a decrease of 36 percent compared to the previous week. This was announced by the national health authority CDC on Wednesday in Washington. The number of hospital admissions fell by 14 percent. Deaths, on the other hand, increased by four percent.
The omicron wave had hit the USA hard around the turn of the year – the number of cases skyrocketed. However, the number of hospital admissions did not increase to the same extent. In the country with a total population of 330 million, almost 64 percent are double vaccinated. Almost 42 percent of them have already received a booster vaccination. However, the vaccination rate is stagnating. (03.02.2022)
Italy wants to slowly reopen
The Italian government will soon present a timetable for lifting the restrictions. The easing of the measures will be pushed ahead in the coming weeks, explained Prime Minister Mario Draghi, in line with scientific knowledge and depending on the curve of incidences. In Italy, the omicron wave has recently leveled off somewhat.
“The measures that we decided today are aimed at greater openness,” Draghi said after a cabinet meeting. Among other things, his government will greatly simplify the quarantine rules for schools. The Prime Minister also announced that all restrictions on vaccinated people would soon be lifted, even in the hotspots with high infection rates, which are called “Zone Rosse”, red zones, in Italy. For everyone who has received a booster vaccination, the validity of the vaccination certificate, the so-called Green Pass, should not be restricted in terms of duration. (02.02.2022)