PCR tests, boosters, mandatory vaccinations: that’s what Hamburg’s Senator for Social Affairs says

PCR tests, boosters, mandatory vaccinations: that’s what Hamburg’s Senator for Social Affairs says

Despite exploding incidence numbers, Hamburg’s Senator for Social Affairs Melanie Leonhard (SPD) does not consider another lockdown to be necessary. On Friday she explained the corona situation and answered questions about the new quarantine rules, compulsory vaccination and the availability of vaccines.

“I don’t think at the moment that the lockdown is what we need,” Leonhard said in a press conference on Friday. In the Netherlands, a lockdown against the Omikron variant did not have resounding success either. “I think we have to deal with the situation as it is now,” Leonhard continued. A lockdown is currently not possible due to a lack of federal law.

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Hamburg: When will the new quarantine rules apply?

The social senator spoke of an “extremely dynamic phase” in the pandemic. Due to Omikron, the ideas about the number of infections would have “dramatically shifted” again. The good thing about the variant is “that we see relatively few symptomatic courses in vaccinated people”.

The new quarantine rules that the Federal Council passed on Friday morning should apply from Saturday. “We will implement it one-to-one as the federal government has now initiated it,” says Leonhard. Here one is also in agreement with the neighboring federal states. The changed rules will then apply to everyone – even those who are already in quarantine.

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Is there a booster vaccination for all Hamburgers?

“The availability of the vaccine depends very clearly on the make,” said the Senator for Social Affairs. Biontech’s vaccine for children aged five to twelve would be delivered as ordered. There are “significant delivery issues” for the vaccine for children over the age of twelve and adults. Every week, the city orders around 30,000 cans, and this week just over ten percent of them have been delivered. Compulsory vaccination is coming – but only for health workers for the time being.

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The federal government announced on Thursday that cans bought from abroad should come. “But they’re not there yet,” says Leonhard. Nevertheless: “Anyone who wants to receive a booster vaccination can get it.” Both with doctors and with municipal offers, the capacities are not fully utilized. If you need an appointment, you can book it online immediately or get one of the municipal vaccination offers depending on the capacity with a corresponding waiting time.

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Could PCR tests soon be in short supply?

In fact, northern Germany is currently experiencing laboratory utilization on an “unknown scale,” said Leonhard. “The PCR test capacities are not infinite, we are already very limited.” The Robert Koch Institute has announced that new priorities for the laboratories will be published again in the next few days.Precautionary pool tests, for example, should then be given priority. If other federal states are also more severely affected in the next few weeks, the laboratories will have to be prioritized according to Leonhard.

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What is the current status of the compulsory vaccination debate?

“Ultimately, the German Bundestag makes the decision about compulsory vaccination,” said Leonhard. So far it looks as if a majority would be in favor of general vaccination. How this will be designed is not yet foreseeable. You can gain initial experience in March with the institution-related compulsory vaccination. Leonhard March seems “very ambitious” for a nationwide vaccination requirement.

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In what situation would schools and daycare centers have to close again?

The question of when schools and daycare centers will close again is not currently being asked by the state, says Leonhard. According to the new Infection Protection Act, this would not be possible on the part of the federal states. Only individual facilities could be closed. “We’ll do that if it’s necessary,” said Leonhard. This happens in part due to staff shortages when school employees are in quarantine.