Coronavirus: Vaccination

Update 04.08.2022

What do I need to know?

Vaccination against COVID-19 is an effective way to prevent severe to fatal infection courses with Coronavirus. However, there are many questions surrounding vaccination- we try to address the most crucial ones here. The information you will find on this page has been checked for accuracy and will be updated if anything changes. We must all work together to prevent vaccine myths from spreading.

What do I need to know?

Can I get vaccinated against COVID?

Yes. Anyone who has registered their address in Germany or reside here regularly and for a long time have a right to a vaccination against the coronavirus. The vaccination is free of charge. Currently, anyone older than 5 can get vaccinated.

You can find out when you are "completely vaccinated" („vollständig geimpft“) or have achieved the so-called "basic immunity" (“Grundimmunisierung”) in the section "When am I considered "completely vaccinated"?" After the basic immunisation, a booster vaccination is recommended. You can read more about the booster jab in the section "Can I get a booster jab?".

To get vaccinated, you only need to make an appointment at a doctor's practice or a vaccination centre nearby. You can find vaccination centres and medical practices in your area, for example, on zusammengegencorona.de if you select your state and click on the corresponding links. You can also book a vaccination appointment directly and easily on doctolib.de. You can also register (free of charge) randstad.de- then, you will be offered available appointments at doctors’ offices or vaccination centres nearby - and you can directly book the date that works for you. When registering, you can choose the vaccine you prefer.

Since mid-December 2021, pharmacists, dentists and veterinarians are also allowed to administer vaccines. However, these professional groups are only allowed to vaccinate people aged 12 and over and must receive appropriate training beforehand.

Shall I get vaccinated?

Many people are unsure whether to get vaccinated against COVID- and unfortunately, there is a lot of inaccurate information out there about vaccines. You can find reliable and verified information in many languages ​​on our website, impfen-gegen-corona.eu, the website of the Federal Commissioner for Integration and rki.de. If you have more questions about COVID vaccination, you can call the free hotline of the Ministry of Health on 0800-0000837. The staff there also speak English, Arabic, Turkish and Russian.

In addition, some rules, such as compulsory testing or quarantine after a trip to a high-risk area, do not apply to vaccinated people. You can find out more about this in our chapter "Coronavirus - Public Life".

Do I have to get vaccinated against COVID-19?

There is currently no general vaccination mandate. However, since many people in Germany are still not vaccinated and the number of infected people and, above all, the number of patients in intensive care units continues to rise, the government is presently discussing mandatory vaccination. But as of now, there is no official mandate, i.e., if you do not want to get vaccinated, you do not have to.

The only exceptions are currently employees of hospitals, nursing homes, medical practices and other facilities that provide services to vulnerable people. People who work in these facilities must prove by March 15, 2022, at the latest, that they are fully vaccinated or have recovered or that they cannot get vaccinated due to contraindications.

When am I considered “fully vaccinated” („vollständig geimpft“)?

You are considered fully vaccinated when you have received: 

  • 2x mRNA vaccines
  • 1x AstraZeneca AND 1x mRNA vaccine
  • 1x Johnson & Johnson AND 1x mRNA vaccine
  • 1x mRNA vaccine AND you got infected and have recovered.

Experts believe that the body builds up the optimal level of protection two weeks after the vaccination. So 14 days after the last vaccination, you achieve the so-called basic immunity. The mRNA vaccines available in Germany are the ones produced by Moderna and BioNTech. The Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) recommends an interval of 3 to 6 weeks between the two vaccinations.

Please note: A double vaccination with Johnson & Johnson is currently no longer recommended. And the AstraZeneca vaccine has not been used in Germany since December 2021.

Important: If you do not receive a booster vaccination, you will be considered "unvaccinated" nine months after your last vaccination. That means your vaccination pass and digital vaccination certificate will no longer be valid.

Can I get a booster jab?

The Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) recommends that everyone over the age of 12 receive a booster shot.

The booster jab contains a single vaccination dose. A booster shot serves the best possible protection, as the effect of vaccination and post-infection immunization wears off with time. Furthermore, the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus causes a lot of concern.

This is why STIKO recommends booster vaccines, for people aged 18 and over after three months and for children and adolescents aged 12 and over, between three and six months after the last vaccination or coronavirus infection. One is considered “boosted” (“geboostert”) immediately after receiving the booster jab. However, the effect of the booster vaccination sets in after about 12 days.

The booster vaccination is carried out with an mRNA vaccine - currently these are vaccines from Moderna and Biontech. Both vaccines work well. The booster shots can be administered in vaccination centres, by resident doctors, mobile vaccination teams or company doctors.

With a booster jab, you are even better protected against the virus. And you don't have to show a negative test result in places where the 2G Plus rule apply. Furthermore, you do not have to go into quarantine if a contact person of yours test positive. You can find out more about this in our chapter "Coronavirus - Public Life".

When Am I considered "Boosted"?

In Germany, you are currently considered "boosted" if you:

  • have been vaccinated three times: Anyone who has received two vaccine doses (i.e. the basic immunisation) and has NOT been infected with Corona in the meantime needs a third dose (booster jab) to be considered boosted. If you were vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (which comes in a single dose), you also need three shots to be considered boosted.
  • have recovered from an infection AND then got vaccinated twice: Anyone who has recovered from coronavirus infection BEFORE they get vaccinated needs a dose of Moderna or BioNTech (mRNA vaccines) for the primary immunisation. To be considered boosted, one needs a second dose of an mRNA vaccine three months later.
  • have been vaccinated twice AND recovered: Anyone who had an infection AFTER the double vaccination is considered boosted- but only for three months. 
  • have been vaccinated twice AND are recovered from an infection AND then received a third vaccine dose: Anyone who had an infection AFTER the double vaccination is considered boosted- but only for three months. After these three months are up, you need a third dose of an mRNA vaccine to be considered boosted.

Please note: the primary immunisation expires nine months after your last vaccination, which means you will be considered unvaccinated. However, if you receive the booster jab afterwards, you will be considered boosted. 

Important: Not all variants above may be recognised as boosted in your state. Above all, this applies to access to facilities where the 2G Plus rule applies. You can find more information on the 2G Plus rule in our chapter "Coronavirus – Public life and mobility" in the section "What rules does everyone have to follow currently?". You can find out who is currently considered boosted in your federal state at bundesregierung.de (in German) if you select your state.

What do I have to know about children getting vaccinated?

Children between 5 and 11 years of age are also getting vaccinated. They are receiving a reduced dose of the Biontech vaccine. The children, exactly like adults, get two vaccine shots to count as fully vaccinated. Already three weeks after the first vaccination, they can receive their second dose. There should be an interval of 3 to 6 weeks between the vaccinations.

The standing commission on vaccination (STIKO) recommends vaccination for children, especially the ones with previous illnesses or the ones with regular contact with risk patients. You can get your children vaccinated even if they have no previous illness or regular contact with risk patients. The decision rests with the parents. If you have questions, your paediatrician can help.

Children recovered from a Coronavirus infection don’t have to get vaccinated. They have a good protection. If you still want to get your children vaccinated, you should wait for three months after their recovery. After three months have passed, children recovered from the coronavirus infection can get vaccinated.

Where can I find up-to-date and reliable information about the coronavirus vaccination?

Since the development of vaccines against coronavirus, there have been a variety of rumours and misinformation circulating on the Internet about the vaccines. That's why it's essential only to seek information from legitimate sources. The following links provide up-to-date and trustworthy information:

Important

If you suspect that you are infected, contact the Germany-wide patient helpline by dialling 116117. They will let you know about the next steps. Please do not go to the doctor's office before first calling them.

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