"I am very dissatisfied," answers Professor Stefan Ehehalt when asked about the vaccination rate in Stuttgart. The head of Stuttgart's public health department makes it clear: "We are currently experiencing the fourth wave and the pandemic is not over yet." He emphasizes, that the most important thing now is to ensure that as many people as possible receive a vaccination. This helps to prevent severe illness and decrease hospital admissions. It is also important to continue to follow social distancing and hygiene rules and to ventilate rooms regularly. According to Ehehalt, it is very likely that unvaccinated people will become infected with the coronavirus over the course of the next few months.
Travelers returning home should test themselves
Employees returning from holiday play a major role in the pandemic: “Last year we observed that travelers returning from vacation play a major role in spreading the virus." Ehehalt recommends that anyone wishing to return to work at the university after a trip to works from home for the first few days after their return. “And please take a corona test before returning to the university, even if this is not a requirement specified in the guidelines.” He adds that employees should not return to work if they are showing signs of illness.
Students can also rapidly spread the virus: "We know that younger people who are mobile and have many social contacts spread the virus more quickly. The more social contacts I have, the higher the chance that I will spread the virus.” Incidence rates are currently highest amongst children and adolescents. These are followed by 20- to 29-year-olds. "Please remember to follow social distancing and hygiene rules, particularly if you have a lot of social contacts,” says the head of the Health Department.
International students please inform before arrival
International students at the University of Stuttgart who will be arriving in the fall are strongly advised to find out which vaccines are recognized in Germany. Ehehalt recommends two sources of information: “for more information, please see the website of the Paul Ehrlich Institute, where you can find detailed information about which vaccines are approved for use in Germany. And read the Corona Entry Regulations. These will inform you about everything else you need to know, aside from vaccination status.”
In the case of vaccinations: "if two doses of a vaccine are recommended, be sure to get vaccinated twice. This is the only way to gain maximum protection against the virus. In terms of protection against the virus, it makes a huge difference whether I get vaccinated once or twice." The head of the Stuttgart Health Department also points out that infection and transmission of the virus is still possible even if a person is fully vaccinated, although the risk is much lower. Therefore, it is important to continue to follow hygiene and social distancing rules.
"I wish all students and employees a good semester - even if everything is still not back to normal. The next summer semester will be much more normal than the current one."Prof. Ehehalt, head of Stuttgart's public health department