Frequently asked questions on Covid-19

Answers to common questions about Corona - so you can make well-informed decisions.

Information on coronavirus vaccinations

Information on coronavirus tests

Information on childcare benefit ​​​​​​​

Coronavirus vaccination

Around 40% of the population had already received their first vaccine dose by the end of May, meaning that most of the individuals with the highest risk had been given the opportunity to be vaccinated. The next step in the vaccination programme is now to start offering vaccinations to everyone else. Nevertheless, while vaccine supplies remain low, the federal states are able to decide for themselves whether they will continue to prioritise individuals in groups 1–3 in the vaccination centres. Appointments already allocated through the portals will be kept.

Doctors are also able to prioritise certain groups at their discretion.

If you

  • are a close contact of an at-risk person (a pregnant woman or someone requiring care),
  • have a pre-existing medical condition that increases the risk of (severe) illness from Covid-19
  • or have an occupation that increases your risk of infection or involves work in a company that is part of Germany’s critical infrastructure

you were prioritised for vaccination until 7 June 2021. Proof of your priority status can be a written confirmation from the at-risk person or their legal representative that you are a close contact, a doctor’s certificate for your pre-existing condition or a certificate from your employer.

Since priority restrictions no longer apply as of 7 June, however, it is a good idea to contact your doctor(s) and find out if early vaccination is possible for you on an individual basis with the appropriate proof of status.

Covid-19 vaccination decreases the risk of becoming ill with Covid-19 after coming into contact with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Studies conducted up until now have revealed the following data on effectiveness (percentage reduction in the risk of a Covid-19 infection compared to a person who has not been vaccinated):

  • Comirnaty (Biontech/Pfizer): People aged 16 to 55: 96%, people aged over 55: 94%, overall: 95%
  • Covid-19 vaccine Moderna: People aged 16 to 65: 96%, people aged over 65: 86%, overall: 94%
  • Covid-19 vaccine Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca): The overall effectiveness in people aged 18 and over is on average approx. 60-70%. 
  • Covid-19 vaccine Janssen: The overall effectiveness in people aged 18 and over is on average approx. 66%.

Vaccination is the most reliable way of preventing the uncontrolled transmission of a pathogen, thereby saving many lives. Only when enough people have been vaccinated will chains of infection be broken and the pandemic overcome. Experts currently expect this “herd immunity” to be achieved when approx. 70% of the population has been vaccinated.
 

No. The Covid-19 vaccine is a voluntary vaccination. It is assumed that the goal of achieving a sufficient level of vaccination can be achieved thanks to the high level of acceptance and willingness to be vaccinated amongst the general population. The proportion of the population that needs to be vaccinated to develop the appropriate level of herd immunity has not yet been scientifically proven. A level of approx. 70% is currently being discussed.

Yes, absolutely! The vaccine protects the vaccinated person from infection. It is still unclear, however, whether that person can still infect other people who have not yet been vaccinated. That’s why everyone needs to continue following the recommended measures to protect against infection. The best way of protecting yourself and others is by keeping your distance, observing hygiene rules and wearing a mask (these are known as the “AHA” rules in Germany). You can find more information on the Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) website.

We do not yet have a definitive answer to this question. Some countries are discussing the option of allowing those who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel without any other conditions. However, there are still some issues, mainly legal concerns, which are not clear. Please make sure you are aware of any entry requirements and restrictions in place for your return to Germany before travelling abroad.

Coronavirus tests

SBK will cover the cost of a coronavirus test if it is medically necessary. Your doctor will make the decision to order a test. Doctors should refer to the updated criteria provided by the Robert Koch Institute. The service is then covered by the healthcare card.

There is a need to differentiate between tests that detect the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (PCR test) and those that detect specific antibodies developed after infection with this virus (antibody test).

Proof of Covid-19 infection via a PCR test.

The PCR test checks whether there is a current infection with the virus. This is carried out through PCR testing. The full name is “Real-time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction” (abbreviated to RT-PCR).

This is a molecular genetic detection of viruses, for which a swab taken from the upper airways and/or the nasal cavity is required.

It is essential that the test is ordered by your doctor due to symptoms suggesting infection with the coronavirus. The doctor will make the decision based on criteria set by the Robert Koch Institute.

If the doctor decides to carry out a test, SBK will cover the treatment costs and the laboratory costs of €39.40 for each analysis – there are no additional costs for those with health insurance. The test is covered by the healthcare card.

People travelling into the Federal Republic of Germany who have visited a high-risk area within 10 days of their entry into Germany are required to go home or to another suitable address immediately and isolate there for 10 days. The relevant health authority monitors the obligation to quarantine. The rules on quarantine are governed by the individual federal states. Please therefore check the website of the federal state you are visiting or are resident in to check which specific quarantine regulations are in place.

If you develop cold symptoms during the isolation period, please contact your relevant health authority or contact your GP directly by phone or call the number for doctors on-call (116 117) if you need medical help. The experts will take into account your own personal risk factors and the country you have visited to arrange other measures or a coronavirus test where necessary. (Refer also to the question on this page “Should mild symptoms of respiratory disease be assessed by a doctor to check for Covid-19?”)

You can find further up-to-date information for travellers on the website of the German Federal Ministry of Health.

Childcare benefit

You are entitled to childcare benefit, if

  • you are employed and have an income loss due to unpaid childcare leave
  • your child is insured under statutory insurance
  • your child is younger than 12 or disabled and in need of help
  • there is no other person living in the household who can take over the childcare
  • you are generally entitled to sickness benefit (as an employee or self-employed person with entitlement to sickness benefit)
  • you need to take care of your child because of sickness or school/kindergarten closings

Please note, that we cannot pay childcare benefit, if you are on paid leave or if your employer continues to pay salary during childcare leave. 

Parents under statutory insurance can claim up to 30 days of childcare benefit per child in 2021. For parents with more than one child the amount of days is limited to 65 for all children. 
Single parents can claim up to 60 days per child, limited to 130 days in total for all children. 

The claim also applies to children who need to be looked after at home for the following reasons:

  • Compulsory presence at school has been suspended.
  • The requirements for support have not been fulfilled.
  • The authorities recommend that the care services provided by childcare facilities that are open are not used if possible.
  • Company or school holidays have been arranged or extended.
  • The childcare institution has been closed by the relevant authorities.

Entry to the childcare institution has been prohibited, e.g. in the event of an at-home quarantine order
 

We can reimburse 90% of the net salary loss. If you have received any one-time-payments over the past 12 months (for example holiday bonuses etc.), the childcare benefit increases to 100% of your net salary loss. However, the daily amount of childcare benefit is limited to €112,88 (2021).

The fastest and easiest way to apply is to fill your application online through your Meine SBK app or web application at: meine.sbk.org/kinderkrankengeld 
Alternatively, please contact your personal consultant for further instructions.
If you would like to apply for child sickness benefit because of your child’s sickness, you need to submit a sickness certificate issued by a doctor.
In case of any questions on the current childcare benefit regulations, your personal customer consultant will be happy to advise you!