Impact of vaccines clear: COVID hospital admissions falling in Germany

Impact of vaccines clear: COVID hospital admissions falling in Germany

Impact of vaccines clear: COVID hospital admissions falling in Germany

At the peak of the first coronavirus wave last year, up to 20 percent of infections resulted in hospitalisation. This so-called hospitalisation rate has now fallen to around seven percent. The Robert Koch Institute says this is an indication of how vaccines are beginning to have an effect. 

Hospitalisation rate in Germany steady since February

Germany’s strategy of prioritising older and more vulnerable people for vaccines against COVID-19 is clearly having a positive impact on hospital admissions. According to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the proportion of coronavirus patients admitted to hospital has not increased since the end of February 2021. 

Currently, between seven and eight percent of coronavirus patients end up being admitted to hospital. The figure could be as low as four percent, the RKI said, but they cannot yet rule out late registrations. 

For comparison, at the height of the first wave, the proportion of hospital admissions was up to 20 percent of those who became infected with the virus, and up to 12 percent during the second wave. According to healthcare experts, lessons learned during the first wave about preventing serious courses of the disease helped to lower this value. 

Seven-day incidence rate lowest among older population groups

According to the RKI, coronavirus infections in those over the age of 80 have now decreased significantly compared to the second wave. For example, the seven-day incidence rate among 80 to 90 year-olds was recently between 60 and 74 per 100.000 residents - significantly lower than among all other age groups. The incidence rate among those under the age of 15 is currently almost 200. 

According to the RKI, this phenomenon can only be explained by the effect of vaccinations among the older age groups. Since this population group previously made up a large proportion of cases that resulted in hospitalisation, this explains the currently much lower hospitalisation rate. 

However, the RKI cautioned that we are not completely out of the woods yet: Among younger patient groups between 35 and 59 years of age, at least as many people ended up in hospital during the third wave as during the second.

According to the register of intensive care physicians and the RKI, there are currently around 5.000 coronavirus patients in intensive care units in Germany. More than half of them are on ventilators. Intensive care doctors have noticed that their patients are becoming “younger and younger” compared to the first waves. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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