Misleading: The video from the simulation event BasisCamp, in which a stop to vaccinations in Germany is announced, was published as part of a simulation game. The video is fictional, Germany’s public health institute wasn’t involved in this video.
FULL CLAIM: Germany halts all COVID-19 vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines are no longer recommended
BasisCamp was a multi-day simulation game event, which took place in August 2021 in Germany. On its YouTube channel, BasisCamp is described as “A Global Pandemic Exit Exercise” organized by members of the Corona Investigation Committee (Stiftung Corona-Ausschuss in German), a German group which opposes the measures put in place against the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany.
This simulation game was set in a scenario in which an interim government was formed in Germany. During the game, this fictitious interim government analyzed the current situation in Germany and roleplayed the responses that they were in favor of. Many of the BasisCamp cast members are members of the newly formed German political party Die Basis.
BasisCamp shared a recording of this simulation game on its YouTube channel, and posted short excerpts to its Facebook page and Instagram account. Although BasisCamp’s social media clearly stated that these videos were a recording of a simulation, other social media users shared a brief excerpt of the original video containing an English voiceover, claiming that the video was evidence that Germany halted vaccinations for a two-week period, without informing viewers that the video was a simulation, not reality. A copy of this version, uploaded to BrandNewTube on 26 August 2021, has been viewed more than 150,000 times to date and received more than 12,000 interactions on Facebook, including more than 6,400 shares, according to social media analytics tool CrowdTangle.
During the simulation, which is styled as a news broadcast, Stephan Kohn was appointed as the interim President of Germany’s public health institute, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). To be clear, the actual President of the Robert Koch Institute is Lothar Wieler, who has occupied that position since 2015. In reality, Kohn is a member of Die Basis who is running as a candidate in Germany’s upcoming 2021 federal election in the province of Saxony-Anhalt. BasisCamp’s YouTube channel lists Kohn as a cast member, crediting him as “Director of the RKI”.
Kohn, roleplaying as president of the RKI, claimed that COVID-19 vaccination was put on hold in Germany for two weeks, that the vaccines are no longer recommended, and that the vaccine’s licenses have been suspended. As we remind readers, as the descriptions on BasisCamp’s social media pages explicitly stated, these claims are all part of a simulation and not real.
In fact, Germany has not paused COVID-19 vaccinations. On 25 August 2021, Germany reached a milestone of 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations in the country. The proportion of the German population who has been vaccinated continues to rise. As of 1 September 2021, 65.5% of the German population have received at least one vaccine dose, with 264,072 doses administered on 1 September 2021, also indicating that the vaccination campaign has not been stopped.
Germany’s Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) continues to recommend COVID-19 vaccines for Germany’s population. In its vaccination campaign, Germany uses the vaccines by Pfizer and BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson. For children between 12 and 18 years, STIKO recommends mRNA vaccines.
The four recommended COVID-19 vaccines all have a valid authorisation in the EU, including in Germany. As of 27 August 2021, Germany’s Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedicines lists them as COVID-19 vaccines with a marketing authorisation.
A video shared by social media users as evidence that Germany halted COVID-19 vaccination is actually part of a simulation game played by members of the German political party Die Basis. In fact, Germany continues to vaccinate its population against COVID-19. All four COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized for use in the EU based on data demonstrating their safety and effectiveness, and all four are also authorized and recommended for use in Germany.