FACT CHECK: Did Germany Halt The Use Of All COVID-19 Vaccines?
A post shared on Facebook claims Germany halted the use of all COVID-19 vaccines for two weeks due safety concerns.
There is no record of Germany suspending the use of all COVID-19 vaccines for two weeks. A spokesperson for Germany’s Federal Ministry of Health told Check Your Fact the claim was inaccurate.
The Aug. 28 post portrays itself as a “breaking news” alert, saying in part, “Germany halts all C19 vaccines, saying they are unsafe and no longer recommended! There has been a 2 week pause so they can reflect on the damages being caused to their people, NO ONE CAN GET IT and the vaccine license has been put on pause!”
The Paul Ehrlich Institute, the vaccine regulator within the German Federal Ministry of Health, currently lists four authorized COVID-19 vaccines – Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson – on its website. It has not put out any press release announcing the pausing of all COVID-19 vaccines due to safety concerns, as of the time of publication.
The Federal Ministry of Health and the Robert Koch Institute, the country’s national disease control center, have not put out any statements about a two-week halt of use of all COVID-19 vaccines either. Germany’s Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO), an independent advisory group under the Robert Koch Institute that makes official recommendations on vaccines, also has published no recommendations for the halting of all COVID-19 vaccines.
German media outlets such as Bild, Der Spiegel and Deutsche Welle also do not appear to have reported on the country pausing the use of all COVID-19 vaccines for two weeks. Parissa Hajebi, a spokesperson for the Federal Ministry of Health, confirmed in an email to Check Your Fact that the Facebook post’s claim is false, noting, “Four vaccines are currently approved in the EU, all of which are also used in Germany.”
“Anyone who wants to be vaccinated can make an appointment with a doctor or at a vaccination center, or take advantage of one of the low-threshold vaccination services offered locally by the federal states,” Hajebi said. “In addition, many companies offer vaccinations.” (RELATED: Did The CDC Say 7 Out Of 10 Americans Are ‘Declining’ To Get COVID-19 Vaccines)
In Germany, a vaccine is “only approved if it successfully passes all three phases of the clinical trial program and has a positive benefit-risk ratio,” according to Hajebi. She went on to explain that “national and international quality standards apply – as for all other vaccine developments – also to the approval of a Corona vaccine.”
The Federal Ministry of Health has tweeted encouragement about getting vaccinated against COVID-19 in the days since Aug. 28. A Federal Ministry of Health vaccine dashboard shows COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Germany since the Facebook post made the claim, with over 264,000 doses being administered on Sept. 1.
Due to concerns about a rare form of blood clot seen in a small number of people who received the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, Germany moved in late March to largely suspend its use among people under the age of 60, according to CNBC. People in Germany under 60 can receive the AstraZeneca vaccine after consulting with their physician. Germany’s health authorities currently recommend people who receive the first dose of AstraZeneca get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine for their second dose, according to a translation of the Federal Ministry of Health’s coronavirus website.
The World Health Organization explains on its website that “there are strict protections in place to help ensure the safety of all COVID-19 vaccines,” noting, “Before receiving validation from WHO and national regulatory agencies, COVID-19 vaccines must undergo rigorous testing in clinical trials to prove that they meet internationally agreed benchmarks for safety and efficacy.”