The German minister of health is calling for “a massive booster campaign” as he echoed fears on Dec. 19 that a double shot alone could not be enough to get the Omicron variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus “under control.”
Karl Lauterbach, who serves as Germany’s new federal minister of health since Dec. 8, said he assumes “a massive fifth wave” is coming and will challenge hospitals and intensive care units.
Lauterbach’s calls for a booster campaign come as it appears two shots are not enough against the new variant that was first discovered in South Africa in early November.
“Without a booster, the protection is too weak,” Lauterbach said, stressing that getting a third shot also “does not provide perfect protection either.”
“We have to be prepared for a challenge here that we have not had in this form before,” the German official said. “We must therefore run an offensive booster campaign and tighten up the contact reduction measures,” he added.
Numerous studies have shown that fully vaccinated people still have the ability to contract and transmit COVID-19, though some health officials have said that vaccines can protect better against severe symptoms, hospitalization, and death.
In a new study published by researchers earlier this month, evidence emerged that a lower level of antibodies against Omicron is triggered by the COVID-19 vaccines themselves.
“This will likely lead to increased breakthrough infections in previously infected or double vaccinated individuals, which could drive a further wave of infection,” the authors wrote in the preprint study.
Lauterbach stressed that only a booster shot “works reliably against a severe case of the Omicron infection,” as he touted an efficacy rate between 70 to 80 percent protection from symptomatic infection.
Also on Dec. 19, the government ruled out a Christmas lockdown that would be similar to the one enacted in the neighboring Netherlands on Dec. 18. Earlier this month, Germany already imposed additional restrictions on unvaccinated citizens, blocking them from entering “non-essential” shops.
“There will not be a lockdown before Christmas here. But we will get a fifth wave—we have crossed a critical number of Omicron infections,” Lauterbach said, speaking on broadcaster ARD. “This wave can no longer be completely stopped.”
According to official government data, roughly 70 percent of the population in Germany is fully vaccinated against the CCP virus.
Epoch Times reporter Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.