There’s a lot going on in Germany as we approach February 2022, from the shortening of COVID certifications’ validity to increased security for online purchasing. Here are six changes that expats in Germany should be aware of.
1. Without a booster, COVID certificates are only valid for nine months.
Until now, everyone who has completed a full two doses of a coronavirus vaccine was deemed “completely vaccinated” for a period of 12 months. However, as of February 1, vaccination certificates issued in the European Union would only be valid for nine months (270 days) before requiring a booster dose.
The EU decided to implement this by the end of December 2021 in order to provide easier and more consistent travel regulations across the EU. It is unclear how long a vaccination certificate with a booster dose will be valid. The present expiry date of 12 months stated in the Corona-Warn-App or CovPass for persons who received booster shots has no legal basis.
2. The first Novavax vaccines will be distributed in Germany.
Another coronavirus vaccination will be available in Germany soon. According to Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, the vaccine Nuvaxovid from Novavax will be available in the third week of February, making it the fifth after BioNTech / Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca. The first shipment of 1.75 million doses is expected to arrive on February 21.
Because the Novavax vaccine is protein-based and thus deemed a “classical vaccine method,” it is anticipated that it may persuade some vaccine skeptics in Germany.
The government is also contemplating on imposing vaccine mandate.
3. COVID vaccines will soon be available in pharmacies.
Following months of anticipation, pharmacists in Germany will begin dispensing coronavirus vaccines on February 8. According to Gabriele Regina Overwienig, head of the German Pharmacists’ Association, pharmacy personnel have received the necessary training, and the technical infrastructure has been established to allow pharmacies to pass on vaccination facts to the Robert Koch Institute. Pharmacies will be compensated for each vaccination administered. Once available, expats in Germany can simple go to any pharmacy and receive their jab of Covid vaccine.
4. Election of a new Federal President
On February 13, a new Federal President of Germany will be chosen. The SPD has nominated incumbent Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, while the Left has proposed a doctor called Gerhard Trabert. The AfD has nominated the ultra-conservative Max Otte.
The German president, who has a primarily ceremonial role, is chosen for a five-year term and may only be re-elected once. They are elected by the so-called Federal Assembly, which is made up of all members of the Bundestag as well as candidates picked from state parliaments.
5. Extra precautions should be taken while purchasing online.
In February, security procedures for online buying in Europe will be tightened. Some people might have experienced getting scammed when buying stuff online. Expats in Germany must be extra careful.
Since January 2021, consumers purchasing items worth more than 250 euros have been subjected to strong customer authentication (SCA), which requires them to validate purchases through the internet using a TAN code, password, or facial recognition on their cell phone. These regulations will apply to payments of 150 euros or more from February 15, 2022.
6. Building energy efficiency regulations are being revised.
Germany is likewise tightening its qualifying conditions for grants and loans from the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) as of February 1. Building projects will now be required to meet the KfW 40 energy efficiency standard in order to qualify for the initiative, when previously the sufficient energy efficiency standard was KfW 55. The graph considers factors such as the home’s energy use and carbon dioxide emissions.