Dusseldorf The number of corona infections is high, but there are no special protective regulations, and certificates of recovery no longer play a role. Why you should still worry about how the situation will develop after the summer holidays and what you should keep an eye on for vaccination protection.
Corona-tired, most of them enjoy the summer as carefree as if nothing had happened, despite the high number of infections. Masks have become a rarity in everyday life, freed from corona regulations, and recovery certificates no longer play a special role.
Many therefore forego the effort of having them issued after they have survived an infection, and vaccinations are also not very en vogue, especially since the adapted Omicron vaccine is still a long time coming. But what does that mean for autumn? What you should know now to be well positioned.
What can we expect after the summer holidays?
Long-awaited endemic times, in which Corona has become a completely normal infectious disease, will not be the case. The virus is changing too fast and too much. For this reason, virologist Christian Drosten also revised his assessment. From September he expects high numbers of cases, more seriously ill people in hospitals and more deaths – although the situation will no longer reach the level of 2021.
What is already apparent: Corona-related absences from illness will probably increase and possibly reach a critical level in many areas.
Due to fears of severe waves of infection in autumn and winter, Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach promised to speed up the revision of the Infection Protection Act. The current legal basis expires on 23 September. According to Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann, the new Infection Protection Act could again provide for a far-reaching mask requirement. Recent access restrictions in public space must be discussed depending on the effect of future vaccines and the specific situation.
Why should you even now a certificate of recovery getting exhibited?
Anyone who wants to be considered fully vaccinated in Germany from October 1, 2022 will need a third vaccination. According to the current status (July 5, 2022), a certificate of recovery can at least temporarily compensate for a missing third vaccination. This can be important for travel, even if it currently has no advantage with regard to the almost abolished corona regulations. However, the convalescent certificate in this country is currently only valid for three months. Strictly speaking, only 62 days, since the validity begins four weeks after infection.
Another aspect: “From a medical point of view, the time of the last infection is relevant, among other things against the background of possible booster vaccinations,” says Vincent Jörres from the German Association of General Practitioners. Because a certificate of recovery can also be important with a view to the recommended time rules for the next vaccination against the corona virus, as the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians of North Rhine also says. Those who have recovered are also given the same status as those who have been boosted if they are vaccinated three months after the infection.
Anyone wishing to enter France will need either an antigen or PCR test or full vaccination (two shots). The exception to this is vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, for which a single vaccination is considered sufficient. The certificate of recovery can be important here, because Covid-19 recoveries who have only been vaccinated once before are also considered to be fully vaccinated. In other countries, a valid recovery certificate replaces booster vaccinations, for example.
In principle, the convalescent certificate is valid for six months within the EU, with the exception of Germany. However, due to constantly changing travel regulations worldwide, it is advisable to obtain up-to-date information on the respective travel destination before travelling.
When is a fourth vaccination necessary?
Although the federal government announced the possibility of a fourth vaccination for everyone in autumn, the Standing Vaccination Commission currently recommends a fourth vaccination – i.e. a second booster vaccination – only for people who are particularly at risk of health and who are exposed. The reason: there is still no adapted Omikron vaccine and, according to the current data, vaccination with existing vaccines is not associated with an additional benefit for everyone.
Who should get the fourth vaccination according to the Stiko recommendation: People over 70 years of age, employees and residents in care facilities and people with immune deficiency. Data from Israel suggest that a fourth vaccination for this group primarily protects against serious illness or death. As far as protection against infection is concerned, however, according to surveys from Israel, a fourth vaccination seems to bring only a small additional benefit.
Health Minister Lauterbach, on the other hand, advises everyone to think about a fourth vaccination in view of the high number of infections this summer.
The Secretary General of the German Society for Immunology, Carsten Watzl, sees the benefit of a fourth vaccination for immunologically healthy people under the age of 60 as low: “These people still have very good protection against the serious illness, but sooner or later they will have a breakthrough infection. The hybrid immunity achieved in this way protects these people very well from infection and disease.
What are the expected benefits of the adapted Omicron vaccines?
Both Biontech/Pfizer and Moderna have reported on data from laboratory studies that their adapted vaccines generate good immune responses against omicron. The number of neutralizing antibodies in a fourth vaccination with the new vaccines expected in autumn is on average two to three times higher than after vaccination with the currently existing vaccines. How effective it will be in reality depends on which virus variants the individual has had contact with in the past and how often and with which vaccines they have been vaccinated to date, says Rolf Hömke from the Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies Tagesschau reported.
How do I keep track of the constant changes?
The Corona-Warn-App can help. It also informs users, for example, whether they have received all currently recommended vaccinations, should find out more about possible vaccinations, or whether they are considered basic immunization due to a previous infection. These functions are available with update to version 2.21. Important: Recovery certificates are displayed in the app without an expiration date. However, you can call up the date of the first test on which the certificate is based.