Frustrated German towns urge leaders to plan for fourth COVID dose

Local leaders have described the vaccine rollout as chaotic,
complaining of a lack of communication about when and how much vaccine they
would receive, which made it difficult to plan.

Germany has a low rate of vaccination compared with some
other western European countries: 71.5% of the population is fully vaccinated
and 40.9% have received a booster shot.

Gerd Landsberg, chief executive of the German Association of
Towns and Municipalities, said he wanted to see plans for a fourth dose of
vaccine that would include additional vaccination centres and a prioritisation
scheme when federal and state leaders meet on Friday.

“Overall, one principle must apply: Less flying by the
seat of your pants and more forward-thinking planning,” he told the
RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland media group in a print interview.

The government has said that it aims for 80% of the
population to have had at least one shot by the end of January, a target it
will miss if the rate of first-time vaccinations continues at the current pace.
So far, the number stands at 74.4%.

German leaders are set to discuss how to respond to the
highly contagious omicron variant, including shortening COVID-19 self-isolation
periods over fears that critical services could grind to a halt as it takes

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious disease
reported 64,340 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, bringing the total
number to more than 7.36 million.

The death toll grew by 443, to reach 113,368.

According to the preliminary findings of an Israeli study, a
fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine boosts antibodies five-fold a week after it’s

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French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday that
France was ready to begin deploying a fourth shot as soon as health authorities
gave the green light.

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