Corona ticker: US authorities propose annual Covid vaccinations

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4:20 p.m.: The US Food and Drug Administration vaccination plan

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing annual Covid-19 vaccination for most people in the country to simplify the vaccination strategy. These are to receive a dose of the latest updated vaccine – similar to the annual flu vaccination campaign.

The FDA has also asked a panel of outside consultants to consider two vaccinations per year for some young children, as well as for older adults and those with compromised immune systems. A committee is to vote on the authority’s proposals on Thursday. If the panel votes in favour, the Biontech/Pfizer and Moderna Omicron bivalent vaccines would be used for all Covid vaccinations and not just booster shots.

12.34 p.m .: Holetschek for easing the corona rules in Bavaria’s hospitals

From the point of view of the Bavarian Health Minister Klaus Holetscheks, it is time for the clinics to review their regulations on visiting hours, the number of visitors allowed and other requirements. “After talking to the Bavarian Hospital Society, I appeal to the hospitals to adapt their guidelines for patient visits to the changed infection process,” said the CSU politician. Visits are important for the recovery of patients and restrictions on visiting rights must be proportionate.

However, the Free State waives any requirement, since the clinics have “the best expertise” to weigh up infection protection and normality. Roland Engehausen, Managing Director of the Bavarian Hospital Society, also sees “gradual opportunities to adapt the visit regulations of the clinics to positive developments” due to the current situation. The safety of the patients will of course continue to have top priority.

Even with the mask requirement and test requirements, “as the end of the pandemic progresses, personal responsibility should take the place of state requirements,” Holetschek continued. The federal government must consider lifting the federal mask requirements in medical facilities before April 7th. “The facilities themselves know exactly where infectious measures are still necessary.”

12:52 a.m .: Significantly fewer pandemic patients in hospitals

In view of the wave of respiratory diseases and the workload of hospital staff, there are signs of a trend reversal in hospitals in Germany. Since the beginning of January, the number of corona patients in the intensive care units has “reduced from around 1,500 to less than 800 today – i.e. almost halved,” said the Vice President of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (DIVI), Gernot Marx, the editorial network Germany (RND). “Corona is no longer a problem in the intensive care units.”

According to the German Hospital Society (DKG), occupancy is also decreasing in the other wards. “Significantly falling occupancy numbers” would be recorded for those who tested positive for the corona virus, said DGK CEO Gerald Gass to the RND. The number of sick employees is also declining, “so that the personnel situation is slowly improving”.

12:23 a.m .: Doctors’ representatives are calling for the end of the mask requirement in practices

The National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV) and the German General Practitioners Association, like other industry representatives, are calling for an end to the corona mask requirement in practices. “It is logical to lift the mask requirement in medical practices and other medical facilities, as Bavaria has now announced. The other federal states should follow this step,” said KBV chairman Andreas Gassen of the editorial network Germany (RND). “The pandemic situation is over.” The deputy federal chair of the general practitioners’ association, Nicola Buhlinger-Göpfarth, told the RND: “In our view, there is no need for the legislature to wear a mask in doctor’s offices.” The practices should decide for themselves.

Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) rejects a quick end to the mask requirement in the healthcare sector. He justifies this with the protection of particularly vulnerable people.

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