"Anyone who has seen young, healthy, pregnant women fighting for their lives in intensive care, as I have, can only advise every young and old person: Get vaccinated."

Prof. Dr Ekkehard Schleußner, Director of the Department of Obstetrics at Jena University Hospital.

Did you get vaccinated? And if yes: for what reason?

Yes, already on 30 December 2020 with the very first opportunity, because we as midwives and doctors in the delivery room are in direct contact with the women who were not tested and also no AHA rules can be followed during the birth. It's a matter of protection and self-protection! And what a fortune that in such a short time such modern, safe and highly effective vaccines could be developed!

What do you tell students who are still hesitant to get vaccinated?

Anyone who has seen young, healthy, pregnant women fighting for their lives in intensive care, as I have, can only advise every young and old person: Get vaccinated – COVID-19 is not a computer game, "just for fun" ...

Are there really good reasons NOT to get vaccinated?

No.

Should pregnant women get vaccinated?

Yes, absolutely! We now have enough good data worldwide for the safety of vaccination for mother and fetus – and we know that pregnant women have a much higher risk of getting seriously ill than non-pregnant women. They suffer premature births more often and, although rarely, die more often. And ultimately also because the protective antibodies formed pass to the unborn child via the placenta and protect it from the start. This is called nest immunity.

At what age do you advise vaccinations for children - and why should children get vaccinated?

Thank God the discussion in Germany about child vaccination is now on the right track. In all our neighbour countries and all over the world, children are vaccinated right from the start, because although they seldom become seriously ill, they can also have very severe, long-lasting courses of disease. We know such cases in Jena in our children's intensive care unit. This does not have to be, because there is effective protection!

What do you expect for autumn?

I am pessimistic - the numbers are going up far too fast and the vaccination rate is too low. I can only advise everyone to get vaccinated quickly before the fourth big wave comes, which is already on its way. The argument that vaccinated people also fall ill is not correct. Firstly, they become ill mildly, if at all, and secondly, extremely rarely. The media of this morning (25. August 2021) speak of 11,000 people in Germany who fell ill despite vaccination. With over 50 million vaccinated people, that is a ratio of 1:4,545! You are more likely to win the lottery than to fall ill as a vaccinated person.

When will Corona only be a topic for specialists?

Probably never – this infection, like the flu, will be with us from now on and we must learn to control it and deal with it in a relaxed way, protecting ourselves but not unlearning how to live.

The Interview was held on 26 August 2021.