"Take the chance, get vaccinated!"

(Bild: Torsten Simon auf pixabay)

Neuruppin, 26 February 2021

Professors of the Brandenburg Medical School (MHB) encourage the general public to take every possible opportunity to get vaccinated. They invited to a virtual Corona-related consultation hour this Friday, 26 February, from 11 to 12 a.m. They promised to take up fears and concerns and answer questions.

Prof. Markus Deckert is the dean of the MHB Faculty of Medicine and Psychology and holds a professorship of internal medicine, haematology and oncology. He invited to the online consultation together with Stefanie Oess (professor of biochemistry), Frank Hufert (professor of microbiology and virology) and Karsten-Henrich Weylandt (professor of gastroenterology). He points out that any vaccine is better than no vaccine at all: “All approved vaccines demonstrably and significantly reduce the risk to be infected with COVID-19, and what is most important: they offer reliable protection from severe and fatal progression of the disease. All vaccines on offer contribute noticeably to getting a grip on the pandemic. The fact that several efficient vaccines are already available at this time constitutes an unprecedented scientific achievement and a stroke of luck for all of us.”

About 85 participants attended the online consultation at peak times. The introductory keynote addressed basic issues such as: how do vaccines protect from infections, how does the mRNA vaccine work, what is the difference between this and a vector vaccine, and how are vaccines clinically tested?

Prof. Hufert also pointed out that about 36.5 million people in Germany have an increased risk of a more serious COVID-19 progression because “COVID-19 is a new pathogen, and the general population has not developed an adequate immune response. This is why vaccination is so important. Don’t miss the chance, get vaccinated!” After the introduction, the chat feature allowed questions to the experts.

Lifesaving vaccine a non-seller?
Over the past months several different vaccines were developed in record time and exhaustively tested prior to approval. About 3.5 million vaccinations will have to be performed in the State of Brandenburg by the end of September to protect the population. In April alone this would have to be approximately 440,000, and from May on 520,000 vaccinations every month, or 17,000 per day. A smooth organisation of procedures challenges all affected parties in politics and health care even today. Moreover, the degree of acceptance by the general public and the defined priority groups is not the same for all vaccines.

This problem primarily concerns the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca which was approved last and only for people between 18 and 64 years of age. To date, 83.5 % of available AstraZeneca doses have not been used, although demand is growing slowly. Recently, people in Brandenburg showed some reluctance to accept appointments for this vaccine which was developed in collaboration with Oxford University.

A lifesaving vaccine threatens to become a non-seller. Wrongly so, says Markus Deckert: “The point is not to protect against every infection but to prevent serious and fatal progression of the disease. And according to all available data the AstraZeneca vaccine is on a par with the two others in this respect, and absolutely to be recommended from a scientific and clinical perspective. Every chance to get a vaccine, irrespective of the producer, must be taken to end the pandemic. This is what we urgently suggest to everybody who wants to protect him or herself, family and friends and help society to find a way out of the pandemic and the lockdown.”

For slides from the presentation see here. We plan to make a recording of the online consultation – including participants’ questions – available early next week.