1. GA-English
  2. News

Breakthrough infections in Bonn: Where vaccinated persons can turn to if they get symptoms

Breakthrough infections in Bonn : Where vaccinated persons can turn to if they get symptoms

Breakthrough cases of Covid-19 are also occurring in Bonn and the region. Vaccinated persons can become infected, although the majority of cases are mild, according to the latest findings. Many doctors’ offices are offering special consultation hours for these types of cases.

It is one of the most unpleasant findings in the fight against the Covid pandemic: even vaccinated people can become infected with Covid-19, although the majority of cases are mild according to current findings. Cases of so-called breakthrough Covid are also occurring in Bonn and the region, with people mainly experiencing mild symptoms. Many doctors’ offices are offering special consultation hours for those who are vaccinated but still experience Covid symptoms. According to physicians, the symptoms are mainly headaches and sore throats, shortness of breath, and sometimes temporary loss of taste.

Many are wondering about who actually pays for the PCR tests. Usually, costs can be reimbursed if the doctor has ordered a test beforehand, whether it turns out negative or positive. As of Oct. 11, tests not done on the advice of a physician must be paid for by patients themselves. "For patients with symptoms, the costs will still be covered," says Bonn-based general practitioner Dieter Krafft, who is also chairman of the Bonn district office of the North Rhine General Practitioners' Association.

This also applies to patients with cases of breakthrough Covid, he said. "These have also been detected in our practice. However, we have only been able to find very mild cases of it here.” According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), severe cases of Covid are possible in about ten percent of those vaccinated, "but depending on the vaccine and underlying conditions. The probability of breakthrough Covid is likely higher in special risk groups such as elderly people over 70," Krafft says.

The severity of illness could also be higher in this group of people. "In terms of medical treatment, there are no differences for people who get sick, whether they are vaccinated or not." In his practice, Krafft offers consultation time every day for Covid infections, patients must register in advance by phone. "Consultations are held starting at 11:30 a.m.. That means there is plenty of time to register in advance in the morning. Appointments are made available on the same day.”

Special time slot for suspected cases

Clemens Wagner also offers special consultation hours at lunchtime for those who think they might have Covid. "I estimate that 70 percent of family practices do it this way," says the practicing physician. His fellow practitioner Krafft also believes that most physicians offer separate time slots for suspected Covid cases. Wagner has been vaccinating people against Covid-19 for months in Oberbachem and elsewhere. His wife, a gynecology specialist, has worked at the Bonn vaccination center. "People are given a time slot for the consultation and then have to wait outside if necessary. I put on protective clothing with disposable coveralls, gloves and FFP3 masks before it's time for the examination." That usually begins with a medical history, and symptoms are discussed before it's time for the exam. "I listen to the lungs and take a temperature. If there is also shortness of breath or a cough, for example, you get an indication of a possible corona disease," says the doctor.

PCR test for indications of Covid

Once the symptoms have been identified, a PCR test is initiated. Wagner usually performs this test directly. But not not every potential Covid infection patient turns out to be one after the initial examination. "If someone comes to me with white pus-filled spots on the tonsils, that's more likely to indicate a bacterial infection," Wagner says. "Otherwise, we have to remember it's also flu season, so patients come in with simple cold symptoms." In such a case, he does not perform a PCR test.

On this day, a patient comes in whom the physician can quickly classify as a suspected Covid-19 case. "There is a case of infection in her immediate family, she has typical symptoms," says the physician - and immediately asks for a PCR test. She had been vaccinated, "but there are just these cases" - in other words, breakthrough cases. Overall, he says, people have become more accepting about receiving a positive diagnosis. "Most people remain calm. Often there are only mild symptoms. The situation is different for many unvaccinated people.”

So far, access to PCR testing has been widely available, Wagner finds. "Where it is necessary from a medical point of view, we still do it. And there is reimbursement as well. People normally trust the doctor's advice, regardless of the direction it takes." In the meantime, booster shots are also now taking place in his practice.

He would like to see politics and medicine "finally marching in lockstep. The Covid vaccination regulation and the Stiko recommendation should be constantly coordinated.” What doesn’t help, he said, are political initiatives by individuals without medical evidence. "Those responsible, both in Düsseldorf and in Berlin, often don't know how much uncertainty they cause among people who are directly dealing with the threat of a disease.”

(Orig. text: Alexander Barth / Translation: Carol Kloeppel)