German word of the day: Die Auffrischungsimpfung

With new state-wide 2G-plus rules on the way, you might be looking to get your Auffrischungsimpfung - or wondering what this term even means.

A blackboard with the work 'die Auffrischungsimpfung' on it
Photo: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

We’ve been hearing lots about the Auffrischungsimpfung in Germany in recent days (and the past few months) so here’s a closer look at what you should know about the word and the way it is used.

Die Auffrischung translates to refresh, and die Impfung translates to vaccine, therefore making a refresher vaccination, or booster shot. So far, more than 35.6 million people (around 42.9 percent of the German population) have been “geboostert”, meaning they have gotten their Auffrischungsimpfung, or booster shot.

Why do you need an Auffrischungsimpfung?

While Covid-19 vaccines significantly increase vaccine protection against coronavirus, studies show that this protection declines overtime. As a result, an Auffrischungsimpfung is needed to act as a top-up to the immune system and give further protection. 

On Friday, the federal and state governments in Germany agreed to stricter, state-wide rules to combat the new wave of the Omicron variant, with the so-called 2G-plus rules for the hospitality industry. 


It means you must either be vaccinated with your booster shot, or be vaccinated or recovered with a negative Covid test to enter places like restaurants, cafes and bars. 

States are currently putting together legislation to bring these rules in, so keep an eye on local authorities in the coming days. There may also be some regional differences. 

A sign to get vaccinated without an appointment in Wilhelmshaven.

A sign to get vaccinated without an appointment in Wilhelmshaven. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Hauke-Christian Dittrich

Who can get an Auffrischungsimpfung?

The booster is recommended for all those fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and over 18 years of age (and note that some states also offer booster vaccines for those 12 years and older).

It is also advised to wait three months after your last vaccination before getting your booster shot, unless you were vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, in which case, only a four weeks waiting time is recommended.

If you have a weakened immune system, or you’ve recently had Covid-19, you should talk to your GP about the best recommendation for you. 

Regardless of which vaccine was used for the first and second vaccination, an mRNA vaccine such as BioNTech and Moderna should be used for the booster vaccination.

READ ALSO: When should I get my booster in Germany if I’ve just had Covid?

Where can you get an Auffrischungsimpfung?

There are a number of places to get your booster shot: from vaccination centres or at your family doctors to pop-up vaccination centres in places such as Ikea and vaccination buses – Impfbusse.

It’s important to know that like a booster vaccination, the term Auffrischungsimpfung does not necessarily imply a coronavirus booster, with the word also being used in the context of other vaccinations such as a tetanus shot.

And Germans do sometimes use the English word “booster” so you may hear that on your visit to the doctor or vaccination centre too. 


Um mich gegen die neue Variante zu schützen, werde ich mir morgen eine Auffrischungsimpfung geben lassen.

To protect against the new variant, I am going to get my booster vaccine tomorrow.

Nach der Auffrischungsimpfung tat mir der Arm ein wenig weh, aber sonst ging es mir gut.

After my booster vaccine my arm was a little sore, but otherwise I was fine.

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German word of the day: Verwickeln

Ever get mixed up in something you'd much rather be out of? Then our German word of the day could come in useful.

German word of the day: Verwickeln

Why do I need to know verwickeln?

Because whether you’re sharing funny anecdotes or reporting back to your boss at work, it’s always good to be clear about who was involved in what.

Plus, you’re likely to read it in the German news whenever a scandal hits the front pages. 

What does it mean?

In case you hadn’t guessed it, the verb verwickeln means “to involve”. It can be used in a relatively neutral sense – like the English “involve” – but also has an array of more negative connotations, such as “to embroil”, “to entangle” or “to enmesh”.

Generally, if you’re using verwickeln, it can imply that somebody’s wrapped up in something they don’t necessary want to be involved in, like a scandal or some social drama. You can also use it reflexively with the preposition “in”, much like in English, to describe entangling yourself in something.

Where did it come from?

The main root of the word verwickeln – “wickel” – is a verb dating back to the 16th century that means to wind or wrap around something.

Together with the prefix “ver”, which often signifies something being done in error or causing damage of some kind, it’s not hard to see how wrapping could turn in to entangling.

Just like the English verb “entangle”, getting embroiled in a tricky situation is compared to quite literally being tied up in knots. 

Use it like this:

In diese Angelegenheit möchte ich ganz und gar nicht verwickelt werden.

I don’t want to get involved in this matter at all.

Er könnte irgendwie in den Skandal verwickelt sein.

He could be embroiled in the scandal somehow.