The Covid-19 helpline was temporarily overwhelmed, as it received up to 4,000 calls per day. Almost twice as many people also visited the vaccination centres for spontaneous jabs.

In total, the vaccination centres received 600 visitors on Monday, and 560 on Tuesday. The sharp increase led to prolonged waiting times in some places. For this reason, High Commissioner for National Protection Luc Feller recommends that those interested schedule an appointment via impfen.lu first. Meanwhile, the Covid-19 helpline has also adapted to the situation and can now receive calls more quickly.

Booster shot for people vaccinated with Johnson&Johnson

Those who received the J&J jab might soon receive a booster shot, according to the head of the National Health Directorate, Dr Jean-Claude Schmit. The responsible council is expected to give its assessment in the upcoming days.

However, generalised booster shots for adults are currently not envisaged. In addition, 'variant vaccines', which provide better protection, are expected to enter the market in the upcoming months.

Improving the communication of official figures

Dr Schmit also acknowledges that the communication of official figures, such as the number of new infections, must be improved.

Based on last week's Covid-19 review, it appears that of the 675 new infections, 311 people – i.e. 46% - were fully vaccinated. However, these figures only partially reflect the reality of the situation, Dr Schmit stresses. He explains that as infection numbers are relatively low at the moment, one or two infected people are enough to significantly affect the respective percentages.

In addition, due to the majority of the population being vaccinated, they are naturally "overrepresented". A better solution, according to the head of the National Health Directorate, would be to calculate the incidence rate among vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

As of Friday, 8 October, 409,576 people have been vaccinated in Luxembourg. Over the course of the week, 311 people were infected. The incidence rate among vaccinated individuals is 76 in 100,000 people.

Of the 225,154 unvaccinated individuals, 364 came down with Covid-19, i.e. an incidence rate of 161 in 100,000 people. This means that the incidence rate among the unvaccinated population is twice as high compared to those who have been fully vaccinated.

The same calculation can also be applied to last week's hospitalisation figures: seven vaccinated patients indicate an incidence rate of 1.7 in 100,000 people. With 13 unvaccinated patients, the incidence rate among non-vaccinated individuals comes down to 5.7 in 100,000 people.

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According to Luxembourgish statistics, the risk for coming down with a severe course of the disease is currently thrice as high. However, due to the low figures, small fluctuations of 1-2 patients can already have a more or less significant effect.

But even if hospitalisations are low for now, Dr Schmit stresses that the goal of a vaccination rate between 80 and 85% is still "necessary". Dr Schmit points out that more events are taking place this winter compared to 2020, meaning that there is a "residual risk" that needs to be taken into account.

The government's awareness campaign thus continues, with everyone over the age of 60 recently receiving another invitation to get vaccinated. Luc Feller stresses that 17% of those over the age of 60 are still unvaccinated in Luxembourg, pointing out that this age group in particular has an elevated risk of coming down with a severe course of the disease.