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Experts call for a change of strategy – “we see broad immunity in the population”

Before the Federal Council votes on the amendment to the Infection Protection Act tomorrow, Friday, immunologists, hospital hygienists, doctors and epidemiologists are calling for a “change in strategy in pandemic management”.

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Experts call for a change of strategy – “we see broad immunity in the population”

Before the Federal Council votes on the amendment to the Infection Protection Act tomorrow, Friday, immunologists, hospital hygienists, doctors and epidemiologists are calling for a “change in strategy in pandemic management”. In Germany there is already “broad immunity among the population”, so in the future it will be important to focus on protecting those who are really vulnerable. The experts therefore demand, among other things, in an open letter available to WELT, “no routine tests without cause and compulsory masks in schools”.

In addition, the obligation to vaccinate health care workers should be lifted and the “communication of the change of strategy should be adapted to the changing pandemic situation”. The signatories include the Charité immunologist Andreas Radbruch, the epidemiologist Klaus Stöhr, Tobias Tenenbaum, chairman of the German Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Peter Walger from the board of the German Society for Hospital Hygiene (DGKH).

They refer to other countries that have already successfully switched. "Great Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands and Switzerland have declared the end of the pandemic in view of the immunity situation and the mass natural infections that have occurred through the highly infectious but only slightly serious diseases of the omicron variants," the experts write.

The current ministerial communication on pandemic management is not only “erratic, erratic and fear-inducing”. It also means that "irrational fears of infection, depression and inadequate social withdrawal tendencies persist" and strengthens a basic oppositional mood in parts of the population with sometimes aggressive rejection of any state protection against infection and an increase in opposition to vaccination. "Getting stuck in the initial phase of the pandemic is no longer up to date," says hospital hygienist Walger WELT, "a large part of the population no longer needs to be afraid of the infection and that has to be communicated".

“The term vulnerability has shifted, the risk group no longer includes those from the first phase of the pandemic, such as people with obesity. This population group is already protected by vaccination or infection,” says Walger. "Vulnerability is now concentrated on a much smaller group," says Walger, and it is also the task of the Standing Vaccination Committee of the Robert Koch Institute Stiko to name them. Under no circumstances are children and young people among the most vulnerable, and protection against infection in schools and day-care centers should not be justified by protection from others.

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