“We have to prepare ourselves seriously for different scenarios that can come in the fall,” said Health Minister Rauch (Greens) on Friday. “We simply do not know which variant we will be dealing with in the autumn,” he emphasized. Together with 80 experts, a “variant management plan” has now been drafted, which contains four possible scenarios for the fall. Despite big plans, Health Minister Rauch cannot “guarantee” that there will be a comprehensive and uniform data basis in the third fall of the pandemic.
Four scenarios are included in the variant management plan – they range from the “ideal case” without necessary restrictions to the “favorable case” with new variants that are similarly harmless to Omicron, to the less favorable scenarios 3 and 4. The “unfavorable case” sees frequent occurrence and unpredictable outbreaks of new variants leading to far-reaching disturbances of society and social life. Scenario 4 includes the “very unfavorable case”, the “worst case”. There are “renewed waves that cause very high numbers of infections and hospitalizations,” says the variant management plan. This phase results in severe restrictions in social life, excess mortality and a decrease in average life expectancy continue to be recorded.
Rauch did not answer whether there will be compulsory vaccination, he referred to the compulsory vaccination commission, which will present a report again at the end of May, the next time not until the end of August. Regardless of a possible vaccination obligation, it is “our job to get people to be vaccinated,” said the Minister of Health. “Spots and advertisements are not enough, it will come from below,” he announced.
On a basis of trust, people have to be spoken to and persuasion has to be done in doctor’s offices, clubs and pharmacies. He sees the obligation to vaccinate as “an emergency instrument”. The goal is “to get as many people as possible vaccinated at the end of August or beginning of September,” said Rauch. Because the booster vaccination must be “as close as possible to the next wave”. “It looks like there will be a vaccine from Pfizer and Moderna in the fall that is adapted to the variants,” said Director General for Public Health Katharina Reich.