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No, Germany hasn’t stopped using COVID-19 vaccines

September 14, 2022 GMT

CLAIM: Germany has halted the use of all COVID-19 vaccines because they are unsafe.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Germany continues to use COVID-19 vaccines and is expected to receive updated booster shots that also target omicron strains, according to health officials.

THE FACTS: Social media users in recent days have amplified a false claim that Germany has discontinued all COVID-19 vaccines.

“BREAKING NEWS --- GERMANY HALTS ALL C19 VACCINES, THEY ARE UNSAFE AND NO LONGER RECOMMENDED !!” reads one tweet shared more than 6,000 times. “NO ONE CAN GET IT & the vaccine license has been put on pause!!”

On Telegram, posts advancing the erroneous claim included a news broadcast-style video in which a man identified as Stephan Kohn, a political scientist, pretends to be the new president of the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s disease control agency. Kohn claims in the video that the government passed a “moratorium” and that COVID-19 vaccines are “not recommended any longer.”

But that video was part of an event called “BasisCamp.live,” a fictional exercise that took place in Berlin in August. The Robert Koch Institute has actually been headed by Lothar Wieler since 2015.

The suggestion that Germany has halted immunizations is false, a representative for the Federal Ministry of Health told The Associated Press.

“Germany has not banned or paused the COVID-19 vaccinations in Germany,” Kira Nübel said in an email.

Nübel noted that Germany is currently slated to receive millions of more doses of Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. The country will also receive deliveries of new combination or “bivalent” booster shots from Pfizer, which the European Commission authorized this week.

The updated shots contain half the original vaccine that’s been used since December 2020 and half a formulation that targets today’s dominant omicron versions, BA.4 and BA.5, as The Associated Press has reported.

German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach in a tweet Wednesday again publicly supported the use of COVID-19 vaccines to prevent long-term effects from the disease.

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This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.