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COVID-19

Germany issues almost a million Covid jabs in a day

German doctors put almost a million doses of Covid vaccine into arms on Wednesday as a wave of booster jabs breathes life back into the vaccination campaign.

Frauenkirche Dresden
People queue up outside the Frauenkirche in Dresden, Saxony, for a Covid jab on November 28th, 2021. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Robert Michael

On Wednesday, a total of 987,000 people were vaccinated – with booster jabs accounting for 80 percent of the vaccine doses given out. 

After a long lull in vaccinations over summer and autumn, Germany’s inoculation drive is once again picking up pace. On Tuesday, 807,000 doses were administered. 

If the trend continues, the country could be set to cross the million mark and break its previous record of 1.4 million jabs given out in a day, which was set on June 9th, 2021.

However, the fact that the bulk of the jabs being given out are booster jabs mean the rapid progress hasn’t made a huge difference the number of general vaccination rate in Germany.

Just 95,344 first jabs and 69,005 second jabs were given out in Germany on Wednesday, compared to 822,697 booster jabs. 

Under the leadership of a new crisis team set up this week, the federal and state governments want to roll out another 30 million first, second and booster jabs by Christmas.

This would mean hitting the previous record of 1.4 million jabs in a day for the next 22 days, including at the weekends, when most doctors’ surgeries are closed.

So far, in the entirety of the Covid vaccination campaign, Germany has administered 124.4 million doses.

Following a crisis meeting on Thursday, the state and federal governments agreed to change the law to allow pharmacists and dentists to also carry out vaccinations. 

The state and federal leaders also want to see MPs vote on bringing in a general vaccination mandate from February next year. This would obligate people to get their full course of Covid jabs and regular boosters and could involve hefty fines for people who avoid them.

According to the latest data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), 68.7 percent of the population and 79.3 percent of all adults over 18 are fully jabbed in Germany – though the real figures may be higher due to underreporting from GPs.

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HEALTH

EXPLAINED: The new rules around getting a sick note over the phone in Germany

Due to high Covid infection numbers throughout the summer, it’s now possible to get a sick note from a doctor over the phone again for some illnesses. Here’s what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: The new rules around getting a sick note over the phone in Germany

What’s happened?

In spring 2020, German authorities changed the law so that people with a mild upper respiratory tract illness, such as the common cold, were able to get an incapacity to work certificate or AU-Bescheinigung by simply calling and speaking to their GP.

The rule was extended several times and finally reversed on June 1st this year due to falling infection figures. Since then people have had to go back to the practice – or do a video call if the doctor’s office has that system in place – to get a sick note.

Now, due to a decision by the Joint Federal Committee, the regulation has been reintroduced and patients can call their GP again for a sick note.

Can I get a sick note over the phone for any illness?

No. As before, the regulation only applies to patients suffering from a mild upper respiratory tract illness. Though Covid has not explicitly been named in the announcement, it seems that it is intended to be covered by the regulation.

If the doctor is convinced that the patient is unfit for work after a telephone consultation, then they can issue a sick note for up to seven days.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: The changes around doctor’s notes in Germany you should know

If the symptoms persist after seven days, the certificate can be extended once more for another week.

Why now?

According to the Chairman of the G-BA, Josef Hecken, the regulation has been introduced now as a response to rising Covid numbers and in anticipation of the cold and flu season in the coming months: “We want to avoid full waiting rooms in doctors’ offices and the emergence of new infection chains,” he said.

The telephone sick leave rule is a simple, proven and uniform nationwide solution for that, he said. The rule is also necessary because video consultation hours are not yet available everywhere.

What else should I know?

The health insurer DAK is calling for telephone sick leave in the case of light respiratory diseases to be made possible on a permanent basis in Germany. DAK’s CEO Andreas Storm said that this should “not always be up for debate, because it has proven itself.” 

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about making a doctor’s appointment in Germany

The social association VdK also welcomed the reintroduction of the rule. The VdK’s President Verena Bentele said that the regulation would help to protect high-risk groups in particular from potential infections.

What are the rules to know about sick notes in Germany?

Germany has a strict system in place. If you are sick, you need to give your employer a Krankmeldung (notification of sickness) before the start of work on the first day (of your illness).

However, you also need to hand in a Krankschreibung (doctor’s note) on the fourth day of your illness. Some employments contracts, however, require you to submit a sick not earlier than the fourth day so check with your boss or HR on that point. 

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