The number of daily COVID-19 cases in Germany hit a new record of 81,417, around 17,000 more than a week ago, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases said on Thursday.
The country's seven-day COVID-19 incidence rate also rose to 427.7 cases per 100,000 inhabitants on Thursday, up from 285.9 a week ago, according to the RKI.
Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach urged his unvaccinated compatriots to get their first shot. "For anyone who wants a booster, vaccines are available," he told the Bundestag (lower house of Parliament) on Thursday.
As of Wednesday, 72.3 percent of the country's population had been fully vaccinated, with at least 37.5 million booster shots administered, according to official figures released by the RKI and the Ministry of Health (BMG). However, 20.9 million people in Germany are still unvaccinated.
Lauterbach reiterated his support for compulsory coronavirus vaccination in Germany, which he described as "the safest and fastest way out of the pandemic."
The country's Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) said on Thursday that the current rise in COVID-19 case numbers "due to the Omicron variant and the feared consequences for the healthcare system in Germany make an expansion of the vaccination campaign necessary."
Children aged between 12 and 17 and adolescents should receive a Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine booster shot in the age-appropriate dosage, the STIKO recommended. The third vaccine dose should be administered minimum three months after the previous vaccination.