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When, where and how can I get the flu shot in Germany?

Seasonal flu vaccines, Covid boosters, and the monkeypox vaccine are recommended for risk groups in Germany as it gets colder. Here’s what you need to know.

When, where and how can I get the flu shot in Germany?
A nurse gives a flu shot (Photo by JEAN-PIERRE MULLER / AFP)

Flu cases are way up in Germany this year – back to over 22,000 nationwide so far, and those are just the laboratory-confirmed ones. With many Covid-19 restrictions also having slowed the spread of flu in 2020 and 2021, German doctors are particularly encouraging at-risk groups to get this year’s flu vaccine.

Who?

In principle, anyone in Germany can speak to their doctor and get the flu vaccine. However, it is recommended particularly for certain at-risk groups.

According to the German Robert Kock Institute (RKI), which advises the government on viruses, these groups include:

  • anyone over the age of 60
  • pregnant women from their second trimester
  • people with chronic underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, HIV, Multiple Sclerosis, or various heart conditions
  • People who live or work in care homes
  • Medical personnel
  • People who work in areas with particularly high amounts of traffic. These could include schools or Kitas, for example
  • People who live with or care for someone from one of these groups

When?

Flu season’s peak is normally expected in January. That’s why doctors advise you to have your protection in place before then. So the best time to get vaccinated for the flu is between October and December.

With the vaccine taking about 10-14 days to kick in, doctors advise making sure you have the shot by mid-December, so that when the season peaks in January, your body is prepared to fight off the virus if you come in contact with it.

Where?

The easiest place to get a flu vaccine is at your doctor’s office. However, some health authorities run public vaccination campaigns, depending on your federal state. Some workplaces may also administer flu shots on site once a year.

For the first time this season though, pharmacies in Germany will be able to administer a flu shot to any adult with statutory health insurance. Check with your local pharmacy to see if they do it.

Can I get the flu shot at the same time as my Covid-19 booster shot?

In most cases, there are no restrictions on getting the flu shot and a Covid booster at the same time. Most flu vaccines given in Germany are inactivated viruses, which can be administered simultaneously with a flu shot. You don’t have to wait between getting one shot and getting the other.

If giving it you at the same time, your doctor will likely use both arms – one for each vaccine.

READ ALSO: What to know about getting a fourth Covid vaccination in Germany

What about Monkeypox?

Germany has now seen its total number of reported monkeypox cases hit 3,656—with around half of all cases being reported in Berlin. With more and more people getting vaccinated though, the seven-day average of new infections has slowed from a peak of 71 per day in mid-July to less than one a day in October.

That’s far less than the US rate of 105 a day or even Spain at just over four a day.

The vast majority of cases worldwide and in Germany have been detected in gay and bisexual men, whom German health authorities are still advising to get vaccinated if they haven’t already.

Other risk groups include people who work in certain laboratories where they might become exposed, and people who have already potentially been exposed.

Someone who suspects they’ve been in contact with a confirmed case of monkeypox is advised to get a vaccine shot within four days.

READ ALSO: Who can get the monkeypox vaccine in Germany – and how?

Member comments

  1. My children and I got our flu vaccines from the US military last week. Being sick is no fun. Everyone should get it, not just “at-risk” groups.

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COVID RULES

What Covid rules are still in place in Germany from February?

With fewer and fewer Covid-19 cases hitting Germany’s intensive care units, many federal states have – or plan to – get rid of most identifiable Covid rules. Here’s what’s still on the books.

What Covid rules are still in place in Germany from February?

Germany dropped its requirement to wear an FFP2 or KN95 surgical mask on long-distance trains on Thursday, with many federal states also getting rid of mandatory masks on public transport the same day.

The federal government still requires people to wear FFP2 masks in hospitals and care facilities and requires negative Covid-19 tests for arrivals from China. Otherwise, most Covid rules in Germany have been left up to the 16 federal states, potentially leading to a confusing patchwork of rules. Here’s a rundown of what’s in place throughout the country. 

Baden-Württemberg

The southwest German state has gotten rid of essentially all its Covid rules as of January 31st. There is no requirement to wear a mask on public transport or in doctor’s offices. There is also no requirement to isolate for someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.

The requirement to wear masks in hospitals and care facilities remains though, as it’s a federal law.

Bavaria

Bavaria has ended both its obligation to isolate if someone tests positive for Covid-19 and its FFP2 mask requirement on public transport. People are still required to wear an FFP2 mask in most cases where they interact with the health system, including doctor’s offices.

People wear masks on the S-Bahn in Frankfurt.

People wear masks on the S-Bahn in Frankfurt. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Arne Dedert

Berlin

The capital has ended its requirement for FFP2 masks on public transport.

Isolation requirements remain in place for someone testing positive for Covid-19. They can exit quarantine after five days, with or without a negative test, provided they’ve been without symptoms for at least 48 hours.

The requirement to wear an FFP2 remains in place for doctor’s offices and other health facilities.

Brandenburg

The state surrounding Berlin has lifted FFP2 requirements for public transport but kept a slightly stricter regime than its neighbour. People working in or visiting hospitals, homeless shelters, or refugee centres must test negative for Covid before entering, and must wear an FFP2 mask. The isolation requirement remains on the books. A mask requirement remains in effect for doctor’s offices.

Bremen

The city-state has lifted all state-level corona regulations as of Thursday, including masking and isolation requirements. People in Bremen must still comply with the federal requirement to mask in hospitals and long-term care facilities.

Hamburg

People in Hamburg no longer have to wear a mask on public transport. They also might not have to isolate if they test positive for Covid-19 – in this case, you only need to isolate if you feel unwell. If you have no symptoms, you don’t have to isolate. If you visit a doctor’s office though, you need to wear a mask. If visiting a hospital or care facility, you must first test negative for Covid-19.

Hesse

There is no longer either a mask requirement for public transport or an isolation requirement in Hesse. However, someone testing positive for Covid-19 is required to keep an FFP2 mask on if they leave the house and is not allowed to visit a hospital or care facility until their infection clears. People must also test negative before entering such a facility.

Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania

The seaside state has lifted its masking requirement on public transport but it remains on the books in doctor’s offices. Isolation requirements also remain in place.

READ ALSO: Is the pandemic over in Germany?

Lower Saxony

Together with Bremen, Lower Saxony lifted its mask requirement for public transport this week and it no longer remains in the books. Just about everything else does that was in place before does though, including isolation requirements and masking requirements for doctor’s offices.

North Rhine-Westphalia

As of February 1st, you don’t have to wear a mask on public transport in Germany’s most populous state – or isolate at home if you’ve tested positive for Covid-19. If you test positive, you can’t go into a hospital or care facility until at least five days later. You also need to wear a mask at the doctor’s office.

Rhineland Palatinate

The requirement to wear a mask on public transport in the Rhineland also lifts Thursday. Isolation requirements are also gone but anyone testing positive is required to wear a mask in public spaces such as grocery stores. Someone out for a walk by themselves outside doesn’t have to wear one, even if they’ve tested positive. Masks remain required in medical spaces, such as doctor’s offices and people visiting hospitals or care facilities must have a negative Covid-19 test.

Saarland

Germany’s small southwestern state has lifted its masking requirement for public transport and in crowded spaces such as homeless shelters or refugee centres. The isolation requirement remains in place, as well as masks in doctor’s offices and other medical spaces.

Saxony

Saxony is getting rid of almost all of its Covid-19 regulations on Friday. Both masking and isolation requirements will go. The one exception is that masks will still be required when someone comes in contact with the health system, such as in a doctor’s office.

Saxony-Anhalt

Saxony-Anhalt was one of the first federal states to drop its masking and isolation rules. The last of its state rules were lifted in January. The federal masking requirement for hospitals and care facilities remains in effect there though.

A sign with the inscription "Ride only allowed with mouth-nose covering! Protect yourself and others!" is stuck to the train door of a Deutsche Bahn train at Nuremberg main station.

A sign with the inscription “Ride only allowed with mouth-nose covering! Protect yourself and others!” is stuck to the train door of a Deutsche Bahn train at Nuremberg main station. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Daniel Karmann

Schleswig-Holstein

Germany’s northern state, surrounding Hamburg, has more or less lifted its Covid-19 rules. Federal rules about wearing a mask in hospitals and care facilities are still in effect, with only a few exceptions.

Thuringia

Starting Friday, there is no requirement to either wear a mask on public transport or isolate in Thuringia if you’ve tested positive for Covid-19. If you are positive, you’re required to wear a mask when outside your home.

Federal regulations, which govern mask wearing in hospitals and care facilities, are scheduled to remain in place until at least April 7th.

READ ALSO: Free Covid-19 tests end in Germany

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