The vaccination centers have been empty for weeks and there is hardly any demand for injections against the corona virus. Politicians are now making preparations for the fact that this is likely to change again in a few months.

The federal government wants to order an additional corona vaccine for the fall and thus also cover several possible virus variants more broadly.

“We have to be prepared for all eventualities,” said Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) on Wednesday. A strategy adopted by the federal cabinet therefore envisages a further 830 million euros in order to procure a preparation announced by the manufacturer Moderna, which works in different variants at the same time. At a meeting of the G7 heads of departments in Berlin, the focus should be on better strategies for global health crises.

Despite a current vaccine surplus, Germany wants to order more doses through EU procurement, explained Lauterbach. The pandemic is not over and the vaccines are needed. “But we don’t know which variants will confront us in the fall.” Sufficient vaccine is available through contracts with the old government, which works against the original variant including the delta variant. A second vaccine from Biontech, purely adapted to the Omicron variant, has also been ordered. In addition, a preparation prepared by Moderna that works on both virus types should now be procured.

Never again too little vaccine

Lauterbach emphasized that one lesson learned from the pandemic is never to have too little vaccine again. He announced a vaccination campaign with a view to the fall. Anyone who needs or wants it should also be able to be offered a fourth vaccination. In order to be able to vaccinate as quickly as possible, the vaccination centers should be continued and supported by the federal government with up to 100 million euros per month.

There are already discussions in the coalition about protective measures in the event of an expected wave of infections in autumn. The Greens expert Janosch Dahmen told the newspapers of the Funke media group (Wednesday) that the Infection Protection Act had to be reformed in such a way “that the federal and state governments have sufficient measures available for emergencies”. Precautions include that in the event of a new wave, the 2G and 3G rules, the obligation to wear masks indoors and the obligation to test in certain risk areas can be reactivated in good time.

FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr told the Funke newspapers: “There will be no restrictions on freedom with the FDP.” You have to prepare for fall. “But for this we don’t have to reactivate the measures from the Infection Protection Act, which were not able to contain the last wave.” Better digitization, more creative vaccination offers and more prevention in authorities and schools are needed.

Coordinated plan

Lauterbach promised an early concept. He will present a “plan, which I have also coordinated very closely with the Federal Chancellery, on how to manage the pandemic in the fall,” he said on Bayerischer Rundfunk. The recently amended Infection Protection Act expires on September 23.

The fight against future pandemics should be one of the topics at a meeting of the health ministers of the seven leading industrialized countries (G7) this Thursday and Friday. Together with experts and the World Health Organization, a proposal was developed on how to react more quickly internationally, said Lauterbach. Among other things, it is about how to proceed in the event of outbreaks and international cooperation in a network of scientists. This year Germany chairs the G7 group, which also includes the USA, Canada, France, Great Britain, Italy and Japan.

Lauterbach said that climate change is having increasing health consequences and is also making new pandemics more likely. The fight against antibiotic resistance should also be a topic for the G7 ministers. There is a risk that classic infectious diseases cannot be treated if antibiotics are no longer effective.