This is only true at first glance. It’s tempting to just compare today’s numbers to a year ago – say, the 7-day incidence, which was significantly lower a year ago. Only: It doesn’t say anything about vaccine protection for several reasons.

There was also a lockdown light a year ago: Restaurants and pubs were closed, as well as subsequent parts of retail, schools and daycares and there were contact restrictions. The virus was therefore less able to spread.

The fact that the incidence is much higher today than a year ago says nothing about vaccine protection © picture alliance / Sven Simon / Frank Hoermann

In addition, the term vaccine protection is often misunderstood. He believes that vaccination can prevent a severe course with hospitalization, intensive care, ventilation or death. All vaccines provide this protection.

But: vaccinated people can still be infected, science then speaks of a breakthrough in vaccination. Usually the disease is milder. This is good for the individual, but the problem remains for the pandemic: people who have been vaccinated can also spread the virus. The probability increases the longer it has been since vaccination and the weaker the immune system – for example in the elderly or in people who have suffered from illnesses in the past. This is why the Standing Committee on Vaccinations recommends the booster vaccination. A third dose is not uncommon, but standard for many illnesses like tetanus, whooping cough or polio. Experience shows that the booster particularly activates the memory cells of the immune system – these are important for vaccine protection to last longer. It can also work with corona vaccination.

The pace of development and approval was breathtaking, and vaccines were available within months. There are several reasons for this.

The vaccines were developed quickly, but the approvals were carried out according to all the usual quality standards © AFP / Thibault Savary

However, the individual stages of the studies were not ignored. Test participants should not be coerced into participating in clinical trials by force, pressure, trickery or any other form of persuasion. This is spelled out in laws and the so-called Nuremberg Code – this medico-ethical basis was formulated in a trial judgment on Nazi crimes. Voluntary participation in medical experiments is compulsory. The risk of vaccination is always much less than the consequences of the disease. We know this, in turn, because the development of corona vaccines is the largest and most scientifically supported vaccination project in human history. This is why vaccines have been tested better than any other vaccine – despite record speed.

It is just that the coronavirus does not go away anymore. So there will also be corona infections in the future, especially during the fall and winter months, so sooner or later virtually everyone will be in contact with them.

There are two groups here: The unvaccinated will permanently contract Covid-19. Depending on age, state of health and risk factors, the disease is mild, moderate or severe. Those who survive the disease are protected for some time as the infection trains the immune system so that it can control the virus if it comes into contact again.

Vaccinated people already take a more decisive step at first contact: their immune system has been trained by vaccination without Covid-19 disease with the associated risks. Vaccinated people can also be infected, but: The likelihood of a severe course is much lower because the immune system was already in training camp. And: vaccinated people are contagious for a shorter period of time than unvaccinated people.

Unvaccinated people will develop Covid-19 in the future. Vaccinated people can also be infected, but the risk of severe disease is much lower in them. © picture alliance / Andreas Franke

The pandemic is over when enough people have become immune: either through vaccination or through disease, which is the most dangerous alternative. About ten percent of corona patients in Germany have to go to the hospital. In contrast, the risk of serious side effects from vaccination is 0.02 percent or less.

Another misunderstanding lies in the hypothesis that natural infection is better than artificial vaccination: as with Corona, this is often said in connection with so-called childhood diseases.

But a look at the facts paints a different picture: take, for example, measles, for which there is no medicine. About one in 1,000 children suffers from inflammation of the brain, which causes permanent damage or even is fatal in about one in five cases. Measles vaccination, on the other hand, prevents about 99% of cases from occurring. Indeed, more and more vaccinated people have to go to the hospital because they are infected with the coronavirus. The Robert Koch Institute regularly publishes the figures, most recently about a week ago. And they are confusing at first glance.

For example, if you look at people over 60 in hospital, 45 percent of the sick were vaccinated, 55 percent were not. Looks like the vaccination doesn’t really make a difference. But this is wrong because you are neglecting the crucial detail: in this age group in Germany, 87 percent are currently fully vaccinated. So there are many more people who have been vaccinated than people who have not. If you take this crucial point into account, the following mathematically correct picture emerges: Unvaccinated people are eight times more likely to be hospitalized.

Unvaccinated people are eight times more likely to have to go to hospital for Covid-19. © picture alliance / dpa / Jan Woitas

If that’s too much of a math for you, you might be able to help yourself with the following consideration: assuming everyone has been vaccinated against Corona – then 100 percent of people in the hospital would be vaccinated as well. However, that doesn’t mean the vaccination doesn’t work, just that it doesn’t work 100 percent. The absolute number of patients, however, is much smaller than it would be without vaccination.

By the way, the increase in the vaccination rate is also the reason why more and more people are infected with corona despite being vaccinated: since the majority of the population is protected, even relatively advances in vaccination. rare represent a significant number.

But: This is a purely mathematical effect that says nothing about the quality of vaccines.

The big pharmaceutical companies absolutely want to make money from their vaccines. Initially, this did not distinguish them from any other business enterprise. The pursuit of profit is different: According to the company, AstraZeneca has so far sold the vaccine at cost and does not want to make moderate profits until next year. Competitors from Biontech / Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson did not do this.

In the case of corona vaccinations, the state has spent billions – on the vaccine as well as on the logistics of vaccination centers and doctors who vaccinate. That’s a lot of money, but the result is cheap: the Ifo Institute estimates that two months of confinement will cost up to half a billion euros.

Testing can only be one of the many building blocks to control the pandemic. © AFP / Christof Stache

It is also a misconception that these economic costs could be avoided through rigorous testing only: From the outset, the researchers warned against the hypothesis that the pandemic could be tested. Tests are never more than a snapshot: those that are negative in the morning can potentially be infected in the evening.