Covid, vaccination and migrants – when three highly emotionally discussed topics come together, things quickly get politically dicey. Lothar Wieler felt the same about a year ago when the Image-Newspaper quoted the President of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) as saying that it was “taboo” to talk about the fact that many Covid intensive care patients had a migration background. The RKI quickly had to make it clear that in Germany, neither when vaccinating nor in the hospital does anyone register where a vaccinated person or a patient comes from.
It would be helpful, for example, for targeted vaccination campaigns to know who is being vaccinated – and, above all, who is not. On Thursday, the RKI presented the results of a survey as part of its Covid 19 vaccination monitoring (Covimo). In it, the researchers tried to find out more about vaccination rates and vaccination willingness of people with and without a migration background.
Therefore 84 percent of the more than 1,000 respondents with a history of migration stated that they had already been vaccinated against Covid at least once. Among the more than 1,000 respondents without a migration background, there were significantly more, namely 92 percent. Overall, these values, which are based on the information provided by those surveyed, are well above the official rate of 75.9 percent nationwide, which the RKI obtains from the vaccination data from the health authorities – but these do not differentiate according to origin or family.
The result of the new study confirms similar findings previous polls – and yet, on closer inspection, it is not as clear as it appears at first glance. Because the mere fact that a person has immigrated cannot explain the vaccination gap, said Elisa Wulkotte, a research assistant at the RKI, when the report was presented. According to the report, the willingness to vaccinate depends largely on education and income as well as age – all factors that influence vaccination behavior much more than origin. However, language barriers are of crucial importance, as the survey showed: the less well someone speaks German, the less likely that person is vaccinated.
However, the willingness to still get the protective injection is higher among unvaccinated people with a migration background than among unvaccinated people without one – an indication that it could be worthwhile to approach specific migrant groups in a targeted manner. “We have to make adjustments here,” demanded Wulkotte.
But which groups exactly? The data situation in Germany is still too vague for this, also due to the lack of a vaccination register. Austria, on the other hand, where such a register notes the country of birth and nationality of each vaccinated person, provides illuminating figures: There the vaccination rate among people who have immigrated from Turkey, Afghanistan, Iran or Germany is sometimes significantly higher than among long-established people Austrians. It is significantly lower among immigrants from Eastern European countries.