Germany launches national COVID-19 "vaccine action week"
To counter the slowdown in the COVID-19 vaccine take-up, Germany started a national "vaccine action week" on Monday, offering jabs free of charge and without an appointment at easily accessible public sites, Xinhua reports.
"All over the country, people are rolling up their sleeves," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a video message on Sunday. "At volunteer fire brigade stations, in trams, on the football pitch, in mosques -- it has never been easier to get a vaccine."
To promote the campaign, posts such as Merkel's video message were shared on social media in order to reach as many people as possible.
The number of daily administered COVID-19 vaccine doses in Germany has been declining in recent months, with only 61,079 shots given on Sunday, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases. The number of vaccine doses administered per day was the highest in early June, at over 1.4 million.
As of Monday, almost 51.8 million people in Germany have been fully vaccinated, bringing the country's vaccination rate to 62.2 percent, according to the RKI. More than 55 million people have received at least one vaccine dose.
The government's official COVID-19 website offers information about the benefits of vaccination and along with contact details and addresses for vaccination sites.
At the end of September, many of the country's vaccination centers will be closed and put on "standby" mode," and therefore "we are switching over to mobile teams," Minister of Health Jens Spahn told the public broadcaster WDR on Monday. From October, coronavirus testing will stop being free of charge in an attempt to further encourage people to get vaccinated.
The seven-day COVID-19 incidence rate in Germany climbed to 81.9 per 100,000 people on Monday, up from 80.2 the day before, but was slightly down from 84.3 a week ago, according to the RKI.