Bonn Even those who have been vaccinated can become infected with the coronavirus. In Bonn, there are currently 31 cases, most of whom show no or hardly any symptoms. One person is seriously ill. Bonn's chief virologist Hendrik Streeck considers this development to be in line with studies.
The seven-day incidence rate per 100 000 inhabitants is continuing to rise in Bonn. On Thursday it had reached 54.6. Incidence level 2 comes into force in Bonn from this Friday, with stricter rules and contact restrictions once more - especially for those who have not been vaccinated.
But even people who have had the inoculation can still become infected. According to city spokesperson Barbara Löcherbach, there are currently 31 people among 242 confirmed cases of infection in Bonn, which is 12.81 percent. According to Löcherbach, 20 cases involve the delta variant (64.52 percent). The sequencing is still pending, however. One person is seriously ill, she said. Last week, 38 people who had tested positive were reported to the municipal health department, all of whom had been vaccinated. Except for the severely ill person who had to be treated in a clinic, all others were either symptom-free or showed only mild symptoms. The city authorities did not disclose any information on the age, sex and possible previous illnesses of the person who is seriously ill with Covid-19.
Streeck sees clinical studies confirmed
The head of virology at the University Hospital in Bonn, Hendrik Streeck, considers the development that vaccinated people are increasingly testing positive for Corona to be in line with clinical studies. “The vaccine protects against a severe course of disease, but is not a guarantee against infection,” he explained in response to a GA enquiry. In trials with the mRNA vaccine, between 80 and 90 percent of the subjects were protected from symptomatic infection. Between ten and 20 later showed symptoms of Corona infection despite vaccination. “What we can say at the moment is that severe illness is very rare after vaccination,” says Streeck. Even moderate courses of the disease are more of a rarity, he explained.
As more and more people receive the jab, the rate of vaccinated people who still become infected also increases. In addition, Streeck assumes that there are a higher number of unreported cases among the vaccinated, who could be infected but do not show any symptoms and are therefore not tested. This means that vaccination is primarily for self-protection, the virologist emphasised.
Paid tests could drive the pandemic
“I think it is very unlikely that we will achieve herd immunity in the foreseeable future,” says Streeck. Therefore, he said, those in charge need to communicate more clearly that vaccination is very important, especially to protect oneself. Streeck is soberly looking ahead to the coming autumn and winter in particular, as the number of infections will certainly increase sharply again, as it did last year. “We have to make sure that people are vaccinated worldwide,” he says. And also so that there are no further surprises with even more contagious and dangerous variants. The professor believes particularly in persuasion. He is convinced that applying pressure on people to get vaccinated is only productive in moderation in order to reach the sceptics. “I very much regret that testing will no longer be free of charge from autumn onwards,” he said. He believes that this is questionable from an epidemiological point of view. “Then there will certainly be a situation where many people will no longer be getting tested and will be moving back to meeting up privately.” This could lead to hotspots among the unvaccinated which are detected too late and cannot be controlled.
In addition, a social imbalance is created: The rapid tests would then become a privilege for vaccine-averse high-income earners, who are more likely to be able to afford the test than those who have to get by on little money. Streeck's appeal: “We have to do a lot more to reach people who may not want to be vaccinated because they are scared and worried about possible side effects.” The argument of self-protection certainly plays an important role, he says. Streeck thinks the “Ärmel hoch” (sleeves up) campaign is not enough. “Providing high-quality information and education is much better.” In this context, the mobile vaccination services are very useful because they are easily accessible to many people. “This should definitely be maintained,” he believes.
And what does the expert think about a vaccine booster dose? “Whether it is really necessary is a question of science.” But it certainly makes sense for older people and those with pre-existing conditions who have already lost their immunity, he says.
(Original text: Lisa Inhoffen, Translation: Caroline Kusch