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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke September 9, 2021

No, Germany hasn’t blocked all COVID-19 vaccines over safety concerns

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  • This claim was made during a fictitious role-playing exercise and is not true. 

The headline of a recent blog post would be big news — and bruising to efforts to vaccinate people against COVID-19 — if it were true. But it’s not.

"Germany halts all Covid-19 vaccines, says they are unsafe and no longer recommended!!" reads the headline of an Aug. 27 post

The post shows a man identified as Stephan Kohn, director of "RKI," which in Germany is an acronym for the Robert Koch Institute, the country’s public health institute. He appears in front of a screen that says "" and "a global pandemic exit exercise." 

"We have been receiving reports on side effects of the corona vaccinations which have triggered the federal government to pass a moratorium and that means the vaccinations are not recommended any longer," he says in the video. "Second, the license of the vaccinations has been put on hold for the next two weeks." 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.), according to its website, was a 20-hour, live-streamed pandemic exit exercise that happened between May and August. "The crisis team of a fictitious German government met" and discussed vaccines and more. 

Featured Fact-check

Kohn is not actually the director of the Robert Kohn Institute. Dr. Lothar Wieler has been president and head of the institute since March 2015. And Wieler has not said anything like Kohn says in the video. 

Rather, Kohn said the vaccination rate needs to increase to avoid another wave, the Associated Press reported on Sept. 8.

According to a page on the German Federal Ministry of Health’s website, more than 61% of the country’s population were fully vaccinated as of Sept. 7. The site shows daily vaccine doses administered; tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of shots were given each day since this post was published.

Four COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for use in Germany: Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca.

In March, the country halted use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for people younger than 60 because of concerns it would cause fatal blood clots. In July, Reuters reported Germany would donate all of its remaining AstraZeneca vaccines to less developed countries.

But Germany has not stopped its vaccination effort against COVID-19, as this post claims. That allegation originated in a role-playing exercise, but it wasn’t real. 

We rate it False.

Our Sources

A blog post, Aug. 27, 2021, A global pandemic exit exercise, visited Sep. 8, 2021

Robert Koch Institute, Leadership, visited Sept. 8, 2021

The Associated Press, The Latest: Virus, Sept. 8, 2021

Federal Ministry of Health, Current vaccination status, Sept. 7, 2021

Reuters, Germany to donate all remaining AstraZeneca vaccines in Aug, July 7, 2021

The Washington Post, Germany halts AstraZeneca vaccine for people younger than 60 over clot concerns, March 30, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker, 4 vaccines approved for use in Germany, visited Sept. 8, 2021

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No, Germany hasn’t blocked all COVID-19 vaccines over safety concerns

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