Do I really need to get vaccinated?
Yes, absolutely. All currently available vaccines are effective and offer you very good protection against getting seriously ill with a COVID-19 infection. The important thing is that you must get fully vaccinated. After primary immunisation (two shots), please make sure that you get a third vaccination. Only this booster, also known as a refresher shot, ensures you the best protection against serious illness.
The Permanent Vaccination Commission of the Robert Koch Institute (STIKO) recommends a fourth vaccination for persons aged over 60, residents and persons in care homes or nursing homes, persons with an increased risk of serious illness from COVID-19 in institutions for integration assistance, and persons aged five and over with immune deficiency, as well as those with an increased risk of serious illness from COVID-19 due to an underlying medical condition.
Are the vaccines absolutely safe?
Yes, all vaccines approved in Germany have been sufficiently researched and tested and are safe.
Can vaccines have side-effects?
As with any vaccine, side-effects may occur. For example, you may experience soreness or muscle pain around the injection site. It is also possible that you will feel unwell or develop a fever. This is quite normal, and shows that your immune system is reacting. Very rarely, there may be more severe side effects. The risk associated with falling ill with COVID-19 is much higher. If you have been vaccinated at least three times or – depending on the recommendation of the Permanent Vaccination Commission of the Robert Koch Institute (STIKO) – four times, you will have been afforded good protection against serious illness due to COVID-19, whichever vaccine(s) you have received.
Where can I go to get vaccinated?
You can get vaccinated at most medical practices or by your company doctor, or you can take advantage of vaccinations offered by local authorities.
Now, many pharmacies also offer vaccination against the coronavirus.
1. Communal vaccination offers
Cities, towns, communities and the Hanover region offer mobile vaccination teams or fixed vaccination locations. You will be able to find more details on the websites of your local or regional authorities or, if available, from a community information centre. Clicking on your region on the interactive map will take you directly to the website of the authorities responsible for your community (in German).
The Lower Saxony Vaccination Hotline, 0800 99 88 665, will remain open to answer any questions you may have. You can call the Hotline at any time from Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Do you have any further questions about vaccination? Take advantage of the contact form at www.impfportal-niedersachsen.de.
Communities in many regions have launched vaccination campaigns. Our interactive map provides links to the communities that have published their vaccination campaigns online. Information about these can be found on the websites of the respective communities or local and regional authorities (only in German):
2. Registered doctors
Most doctors offer vaccinations. We recommend that you call your family doctor or a medical practice close to you to arrange an appointment for vaccination. If you don’t have a family doctor, you can visit www.arztauskunft-niedersachsen.de to find medical practices in your region.
3. Company doctors
Many companies offer their employees the opportunity to get vaccinated by a company doctor. Ask your personnel / human resources department whether your company offers a vaccination programme for employees.
Many pharmacies in Lower Saxony now also offer vaccinations. They provide first, second or booster shots.
You can enter your postcode on the website www.mein-apothekenmanager.de to find pharmacies near you that are participating in this vaccination programme.
Which vaccines are available in Germany?
Five different vaccines are currently in use in Germany. They are all scientifically well researched and safe. When you are fully vaccinated, these vaccines are highly effective and provide good protection against getting seriously ill with a COVID-19 infection.
- Age five and over – the Permanent Vaccination Commission recommends this vaccine without any restrictions.
- The Permanent Vaccination Commission advises vaccination with BionTech/Pfizer for expecting mothers.
- Age 12 and over – the Permanent Vaccination Commission recommends this vaccine for persons aged 30 and over without any restrictions.
- Age 12 and over – the Permanent Vaccination Commission recommends this vaccine without any restrictions. This vaccine has not yet been approved by the EU for the third or fourth vaccination.
Johnson & Johnson:
- The Permanent Vaccination Commission recommends this vaccine only for persons aged 60 and over. It is nevertheless approved for vaccination of persons from the age of 18. Either the Moderna or BioNTech vaccines are used for the necessary booster shots.
- Recommended for primary immunisation in people aged between 18 and 50. Two doses of the vaccine are required, at least 4 weeks apart. Valneva is what is known as an inactivated vaccine. The use of Valneva to protect against COVID-19 in pregnant and breast-feeding women is currently not recommended.
Are there people who shouldn’t be vaccinated?
- All persons suffering from an acute illness with fever (38.5°C or higher) should wait until they are completely recovered before getting vaccinated. In contrast, a light cold or increased temperature (less than 38.5°C) are not considered to be valid reasons for postponing your vaccination.
- Persons who are hypersensitive to components of vaccines or have known allergies. If this is the case, please mention it to the doctor or medic before vaccination
Online tool: Corona-Impfcheck
The Permanent Vaccination Commission recommends vaccination to protect against COVID-19 for everyone aged five and over. However, vaccination recommendations differ, depending on age, for people who have recovered from infection with the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and also for those with compromised immunity. With just a few clicks, an online tool called ‘Corona-Impfcheck’ (Coronavirus Vaccination Checker) will guide you to the current recommendation for you personally. If you have any questions, we advise you to speak to your doctor.
Do I need to get vaccinated after recovery from a previous infection with the virus?
Yes. Persons who have recovered from a coronavirus infection will temporarily enjoy a certain degree of protection against reinfection. As a general rule, the Permanent Vaccination Commission of the Robert Koch Institute (STIKO) recommends vaccination after a period of at least three months after conformation of an infection with the coronavirus. Vaccination may take place as early as four weeks after the symptoms of COVID-19 infection are no longer detectable. We advise you to speak to your doctor about this.
Can I or should I also get my child between the age of 12 and 17 vaccinated?
Yes, absolutely. At least according to the recommendations of the experts of the Permanent Vaccination Commission of the Robert Koch Institute and the Public Health Agency of Lower Saxony. Children and young persons from the age of 12 years also require three vaccinations. These vaccines are highly effective and provide good protection against getting seriously ill with a COVID-19 infection only in the case of full vaccination. The benefits of vaccination by far outweigh the risks.
What about younger children?
According to the recommendation of the Permanent Vaccination Commission (STIKO), children between the ages of five and eleven should also be immunised with a COVID-19 vaccine.
In contrast to the conventional BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, the vaccine administered to children between the ages of five and eleven has a lower dosage and is differently packaged.
The STIKO further recommends that:
- Children with pre-existing medical conditions should receive primary immunisation (two vaccinations) followed by a first booster shot after six months, and then a second booster shot after another six months.
- Healthy children should receive basic immunisation with two doses of a vaccine if they regularly come into close contact with persons with a high risk of serious illness from a COVID-19 infection who are themselves not immunised against infection by vaccination.
- All other healthy children should initially receive only a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
If you want your child aged between five and eleven to be vaccinated, please first consult your paediatrician for advice. Many vaccination teams at local-government level provide vaccinations for children. You can obtain information on this from your district authority or town council. Our interactive map will guide you to relevant websites (most of which are only in German).
Can vaccines have side-effects?
Side-effects may occur a short time afterwards, as with any other vaccine. Muscle pain at or around the injection site is one of the most common side-effects. Other possible side-effects are fever, tiredness and headache. Such reactions usually develop within two days of the vaccination and normally clear up after a few days.
Very rarely, side-effects may be noticed within a period of a few weeks after vaccination. This means that the immune response is fully developed.
There is currently no scientific evidence that long-term complications such as side-effects several months or years after vaccination must be feared.
After approval, the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute actively monitors all vaccines to continually accumulate information about potential side-effects and assure long-term safety.
Anyone refusing to get vaccinated due to a fear of possible complications must be aware that the risks of long-term effects from an infection with the coronavirus are significantly higher.
Vaccinations for expecting and breast-feeding mothers
The Permanent Vaccination Commission of the Robert Koch Institute recommends vaccination against coronavirus to protect you and your unborn baby. Vaccination with two shots of an mRNA vaccine can be administered from the second trimester of pregnancy. A booster shot after six months is necessary if vaccination is to confer full protection.
As a precautionary measure, expecting mothers should only be vaccinated with the BioNTech vaccine, regardless of their age. This is the recommendation issued by the Permanent Vaccination Commission.
As of now, vaccination against COVID-19 with an mRNA vaccine is also recommended for unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated breast-feeding mothers.
Please mention any concerns you may have to your gynaecologist and take his or her advice.
Vaccination is also especially recommended for all women who would like to have children.
If you are not yet pregnant or are planning to start a family, you can, and should, get vaccinated, at all costs before getting pregnant. Getting vaccinated will protect both you and the baby that’s on the way against getting seriously ill with COVID-19.
I have been vaccinated abroad with a vaccine not approved in the EU. Am I classed as fully vaccinated in Germany?
If you have been vaccinated abroad with a vaccine not approved in the EU, please contact a medical practice that offers vaccinations to find out whether administration of an additional dose – or even of a new series of vaccinations – is medically advisable.
Under German law, you are fully vaccinated if you have received three separate single-dose vaccinations. The last of these needs to have taken place at least three months after the second. All vaccinations need to have been carried out using one vaccine or different vaccines that:
- is/are approved by the EU;
- is/are approved abroad and whose formulation is identical with that of a vaccine approved in the EU; or
- has/have been granted Emergency Use Listing by the World Health Organization (WHO), with at least one single-dose vaccination carried out using an mRNA vaccine that meets the criteria mentioned above.
All vaccines approved in the EU have undergone an extensive process of trials and approvals. All these vaccinations are extremely safe and offer you excellent protection against a severe case of COVID-19.
Who is a candidate for a booster shot with a COVID-19 vaccine?
As the protection provided by vaccination diminishes over time, it is essential to get a booster shot to refresh the immune response and assure ongoing protection against serious illness from COVID-19 infection.
The STIKO recommends that everyone aged 12 and over receives an initial booster shot subsequent to primary immunisation.
A third vaccination (booster shot) provides even more effective protection against serious illness and should be given at an interval of six months after the second vaccination.
This also applies to expecting mothers from the second trimester of pregnancy.
An mRNA vaccine should be administered for booster shots, regardless of which coronavirus vaccine was used previously.
The Permanent Vaccination Commission also recommends that:
- children aged five and over with a relevant pre-existing medical condition should receive their first booster shot. They should be boosted no less than six months after undergoing primary vaccination.
- children aged five and over with immunodeficiency should additionally receive a second booster shot.
The second booster shot should be administered no less than six months after the first booster shot.
The STIKO currently recommends a second booster shot for:
- persons with immunodeficiency aged five and over;
- residents in care homes or nursing homes;
- persons with an increased risk of serious illness from coronavirus in institutions for integration assistance;
- staff in medical facilities and nursing/care homes, especially those in direct contact with patients or residents;
- persons aged 60 and over;
- persons aged five and over with an increased risk of serious illness from COVID-19 due to an underlying health condition.
Many physicians – both those in municipal vaccination teams and in medical practices – follow these recommendations.
The second booster shot should be administered – no less than six months after the first booster shot – with an mRNA vaccine.
Booster shots should, in line with STIKO recommendations, be administered using vaccines adapted to the Omicron variant.
An exception is in place for children aged between five and 11 with compromised immunity: the STIKO does not recommend this new vaccine for this age group. As previously, the mRNA vaccine is used for children aged five and over. Omicron-adjusted vaccines are approved and recommended only for persons aged 12 and over.
For persons particularly at risk – such as the elderly (including those in nursing homes) and immunodeficient individuals – it may, depending on the SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations they have had to date, be advisable, after the fourth immunological event (e.g. the second booster shot), to administer a further dose of vaccine at an interval of six months from the previous immunological event. This should be decided by the person’s doctor(s), factoring in their state of health and individual risk level.
Should I get vaccinated after a previous infection with the virus?
Yes, absolutely. Persons from the age of 12 who have recovered from a SARS CoV 2 infection confirmed by PCR testing should receive a dose of COVID-19 vaccine after a period of at least three months after the infection. The vaccine may be given as soon as four weeks after the end of the COVID-19-symptoms if, for example, infection with a newly identified variant of the virus against which recovery from a previous SARS CoV 2 alone does not provide sufficient long-term immunity. We advise you to speak to your doctor about this.
You are considered to be fully vaccinated and protected after only one dose of vaccine.
You should get a booster shot after a period of three months.
I am elderly and the Permanent Vaccination Commission recommends I get a fourth vaccination. After receiving my third dose, I was infected with the virus. Should I be vaccinated for a fourth time?
If you have been infected within three months of your first booster shot, you should receive a fourth dose, but not until at least six months have elapsed since the infection. This is what the Permanent Vaccination Commission recommends.
Please note: It has been determined that recovery from a coronavirus infection generally provides only temporary protection against reinfection. In view of this, we also advise persons who have recovered from a coronavirus infection to decide in favour of additional vaccination. A so-called ‘booster shot’ contributes significantly to the reduction of the risk of reinfection or a serious progression of the illness. How to protect yourself and others.
Who should get vaccinated for the fourth time?
The Permanent Vaccination Commission of the Robert Koch Institute (STIKO) recommends a fourth vaccination (second booster) for
• Persons aged 70 and over,
• Residents and persons in care in retirement homes, care homes or nursing homes,
• Persons aged five and over with immune deficiencies.
The second booster shot should be given at the earliest three months after the first booster shot with an mRNA vaccine.
Personnel in medical and healthcare facilities should be given the second booster shot at the earliest after a period of six months.
Where can I get a booster shot?
Booster shots are available from registered medical practitioners. Please consult your family doctor for more information. If you don’t have a family doctor, you can find doctors who can vaccinate you at www.arztauskunft-niedersachsen.de
You can now also get vaccinated against the coronavirus at several pharmacies. To find out whether your local pharmacy offers the vaccination against Covid-19, visit
You can also get a booster shot from a mobile vaccination team or at a fixed vaccination location organised by your community.
In any case, please get vaccinated in order to protect yourself and others!
You can find more detailed information about coronavirus at www.niedersachsen.de/Coronavirus (only in German).
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