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People in Germany were urged by the country’s health minister to take the Covid-19 vaccine, with the warning that if the number of vaccinations does not increase, hospitals across the country could be overwhelmed with patients later in the year.
So far, only 61% of the German population has received a full cycle of two Covid vaccines, a lower proportion than in comparable European countries, and the daily vaccination rate has been declining for weeks.
Meanwhile, new infections are on the increase. The Robert Koch Institute, the German disease control agency, reported 10,835 new cases of Covid-19 on Saturday, up from 10,303 a week ago.
The slowdown in adoption prompted Health Minister Jens Spahn to tweet: “We need at least 5 million vaccines for a safe fall and winter. “
“The number of people vaccinated is too low to avoid overloading the health system,” the Minister of Health told the daily Hannoversche Zeitung, according to the Associated Press. He said 90% of Covid-19 patients in intensive care are not vaccinated, German news agency dpa reported.
Christian Drosten, who is considered to be Germany’s foremost coronavirus expert, said the idea of ”a relaxed autumn is a risky assumption” and warned that contact restrictions may have to be implemented again if any new infections continue to rise, dpa reported.
Drosten suggested that some Germans do not like vaccines enough because the early stages of the pandemic were less devastating in Germany than in other European countries. “They had a horrible experience as a whole society,” Drosten said of other European countries. “Lots of deaths, real confinement, where we were only allowed to go out for shopping for a reason, and where the streets were patrolled by the military.”
In Germany, 92,325 people have died from Covid-19, according to the Robert Koch Institute. Other European countries have seen many more deaths even though their populations are smaller: Britain had over 133,000; Italy had 129,000 and France recorded more than 115,000 deaths.